Taking Stock has already mentioned that foot-and-mouth movement restrictions have hit three big shows in Scotland this weekend. Dumfries Show, due to be held today, was cancelled and Turriff Show (August 5 and 6) will go ahead, without sheep, cattle and goats.
News of the outbreak broke mid-event for the organisers of Perth Show (An 3 and 4) and an emergency board meeting was held at the showground at 11pm last night and show organisers decided that although cattle, sheep and goats would not be allowed to attend the show, the second day of the event would go ahead.
Some 100 cattle were already on site at the showground ahead of today, the main livestock day. Many of these were Charolais from throughout Scotland, due to be exhibited at the National Charolais Show at Perth today.
Perth Show biosecurity officer, Grant Morris, a past show chairman, told Farmers Weekly, an official ministry vet arrived at the showground just before midnight on Friday night to supervise the vet inspection of the cattle housed under canvas on site and their relocation back to farms.
Show organisers quickly put in place a range of additional biosecurity measures and police patrolled the cattle housing area which was cordoned off.The wheels of every float and haulage vehicle were disinfected prior to shipping cattle off the showground. In the case of multiple drop-offs, cattle were being unloaded at farm road-ends.
Show organisers continued calling exhibitors until 2am on Saturday morning to advise them cattle, sheep and goat classes had all been cancelled. Among those whose attendance was cancelled at the last minute was Charolais judge, Gilbert Crawford from Ireland, who had been due to arrive by helicopter.
One area of controversy among show-goers was whether heavy horse classes should have been allowed to go ahead, given the majority of these entries were from farms and transported by farm vehicles.
Veteran exhibitor, Alan Fotheringham, told Farmers Weekly the news of a fresh outbreak of FMD was “devastating” to farmers.
Mr Fotheringham, who runs 200 breeding cows and 1200 ewes in Perthshire, has been attending Perth Show for 50 years and was due to exhibit 20 sheep and five cattle. “Next week I should have been heading to Granton Show and up to Orkney then judging at Keith. I am also due to be at the Lairg sales – I don’t know what will happen there,” he said.
NFUS vice-president Stewart Wood attending the show and described the mood as sombre as news of the outbreak sunk in. Mr Wood, who runs 170 suckler cows in Orkney, said the impact of the movement ban could hit the economy hard in Orkney which is set to host six shows over nine days from next week.