New regulations have been imposed on county shows to prevent potential outbreaks of FMD

Agricultural shows continue to suffer from the after-effects of last year’s FMD crisis, as regulations introduced to prevent further outbreaks increase costs.

Many agricultural societies faced huge financial losses last year after being forced to cancel or reschedule their events as FMD took hold.

New regulations

DEFRA has issued new biosecurity regulations, including the requirement that shows clean and disinfect public pathways of any dung left by animals which will push up labour and equipment costs.

“We are asking all show organisers to ensure that faeces from all species, including horses, are picked up before leaving the showground. Although horses are not susceptible to foot and mouth, this is sound agricultural practice,” said DEFRA spokesman, Tony McDonald.

Expansion of the horse sections has offered a lifeline for many shows, although in some cases entries have not reached expected levels.

Entries in some of the horse sections have been disappointing,” said Annabel Currer-Briggs, secretary of Leicester County Show, “And memberships and tradestand bookings were also down. We had to take the decision to cancel all livestock classes because we run so early in the year, so that may have had an effect on support.”

Heathfield Show, which takes place on 25 May, has traditionally been the largest one-day agricultural show in the south of England but this year it will also run without livestock classes.

“We’ll still have a strong horse section and we have had very good entries for that. But as we lost both our 2000 show due to bad weather and last year’s event we have to hope that the local community will support us and visit the show in order for it to have a future,” said a spokesman.

Cheshire County Show, (18-19 June), also reports strong horse entries, although secretary David Broster said that increased costs and a downturn in cattle numbers may threaten the show unless attendance figures hold up.

Horses may prove to be the salvation for Lincolnshire Show (19-20 June), which has opted to expand its horse section with several new HOYS qualifiers. It has also invested in upgrading facilities, with a new Fibretrack surface in the collecting ring and the construction of an additional horse ring to host the extra classes.

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