Organisers of the English Winter Fair say bovine TB restrictions could hit the number of entries to this November’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 no such solution is available this year.
“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.
“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.”
It’s a new challenge for the English Winter Fair to deal with, but Mr Williams says the draw of the event will still be strong.
“Our diversity gives us a certain degree of protection, with the National Pedigree Calf Show as well as a fully stocked carcass hall and products competition taking place over the two days.
“We always see good competition among pig and sheep producers, and offer something for the general public with our Christmas Country Fair.”
The Royal Smithfield Club has also announced that it will be hosting beef ribs and saddle of lamb classes at the English Winter Fair for the first time this year.
“We are very proud of the partnership we are forming and feel it’s a real feather in our cap to be working with the Royal Smithfield Club.”