Foot and mouth and bluetongue cause cancellation of Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair

The ongoing movement restrictions caused by this summer’s outbreaks of foot-and-mouth and bluetongue have led to the cancellation of the Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair.

The RSCF had been due to be held at the Royal Bath and West of England’s Shepton Mallet showground on 1 and 2 December, but will not now go ahead this year.

Speaking to Taking Stock, Jane Guise, chief executive of the Royal Bath and West of England Society said there was too little clarity in the situation at the moment to allow the show to go ahead. “We still haven’t been given any indication of when DEFRA may grant licences for shows and what conditions those licences may carry with them.”

This morning’s suspect foot and mouth case in East Sussex casued the organisers further concern and with little choice but to cancel said Ms Guise.

“We have been delighted with the support shown by exhibitors for the show, just the second to be held here at Shepton Mallet, and will redouble our efforts to make it bigger and better neext year,” she added.Following a meeting of the Royal Smithfield Club and the Royal Bath & West of England Society this morning, both organisations are deeply saddened to announce the cancellation.

The fact that good levels of livestock entries had been achieved by the Royal Smithfield Club makes this decision particularly hard and both organisations convey their best regards to those producers who are willing to consider showing even when the industry is at such a low point. All entry fees and trade stands booking will be refunded.

Chairman of the Royal Smithfield Club, Neil Gourlay, said: “This is a very sad day for the livestock industry across the whole country, facing a real crisis on so many fronts. Looking forward we must now plan for 2008, when surely things must be better.”

The livestock industry and show societies have had to take too many things on the chin this year, added Edwin White, Chairman of the Royal Smithfield Show Board. “We are proud of the level of support we have been shown for our joint initiative and are starting to work on the 2008 show this afternoon, when we hope to be celebrating a significant recovery in our fortunes in this sector.

Plans are already underway for the 2008 Royal Smithfield Christmas Fair which will take place at the Royal Bath & West of England showground at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, on 5 and 6 December.