Sheep back in Royal again
A DRAMATIC "ewe-turn" by organisers who had banned sheep from this years Royal Show means the animals will now be allowed at the event.
The Royal Agricultural Society of England was worried that any foot-and-mouth symptoms would have resulted in the closure of the show with losses of £5m. But it has now relented and competitive sheep classes will be held on July 3-4 – the last two days of the four-day event at Stoneleigh, Warks.
The move followed intense pressure from livestock farmers, who said a ban on sheep would make it appear that Britain still had a problem with F&M. RASE exhibitions director David Storrar said: "We have all been working closely over this last week to find a mutually acceptable solution."
The decision to allow sheep on the last two days of the show addressed concerns over the financial implications if sheep displayed F&M-like symptoms, he said. Sheep will go through a strict veterinary procedure before entering the showground, and being at the event for the last two days will reduce the risk, Mr Storrar added.
Sheep entering competitive classes will be vetted on-farm, then taken to an off-site collection centre where they will be vetted again by specialist sheep vets. They will then be brought to the showground for further inspection. *
Mr Storrar said the measures were necessary to allow sheep to be present at the worlds largest rural business exhibition.