TB restrictions expected to dent English Winter Fair entries

Organisers of the English Winter Fair say bovine TB restrictions could cut the number of entries at this year’s event. 

New rules brought in last year mean animals from the low-risk area travelling to a high-risk area for gatherings are required to carry out post-show testing and remain on the holding for 60 days. 

The English Winter Fair managed to secure a dispensation for the 2016 event by segregating cattle from the high and low-risk areas, but this solution was not available this year. 

See also: TB rules threaten viability of beef finishing, auctioneers warn

“It is a big blow for us as it will be for other show organisers and what I expect to see is farmers from low-risk TB areas having to choose to attend one show this winter rather than competing at a number of events,” said Richard Williams, chief executive of the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, which organises the fair. 

“So far our livestock entries are good but we won’t know the true impact until they close at the end of October.”

All livestock shows across the UK are affected by the restrictions which, importantly, don’t impact on those animals going direct to slaughter from the event.   

“We will probably see farmers from low-risk TB areas who want to take cattle to a number of shows splitting their showing team, sending some animals to one and some to another.

“Or farmers will choose to attend one winter fair with stock which then won’t be able to travel to another.”

The event takes place on 18 and 19 November at the Staffordshire Showground and for the first time this year, The Royal Smithfield Club has also announced that it will be hosting beef ribs and saddle of lamb classes at the event.