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(Updated 15/03/01)

Foot & Mouth: Shows continue to postpone


LAST WEEKEND saw the number of outbreaks of Foot & Mouth Disease grow by its greatest proportion - the weekend that Crufts would have been televised across the nation and the weekend that saw the cancellation of the Cheltenham Racing Festival and the Badminton Horse Trials in early May. Principal championship shows continue to monitor the spread of the disease around the nearby venues many of which are agricultural show sites. Two major game fairs have also been called off - one cancelled and one postponed until June.


Scottish Breeds CC, UK Toydog Society and National Terrier are all postponed after emergency meetings over the weekend. Birmingham National Show, which moved to the NEC last year, plans to go ahead over Easter, but continues to monitor the situation with FMD outbreaks now getting uncomfortably close at Pelsall, near Walsall in the West Midlands area.

Photo by Paul Keevil
Foot and Mouth emergency precautions at the racecourse at Lingfield Park last week. All cars had their tyres sprayed with special disinfectant as they drove over disinfectanted mats.

The Hound Association of Scotland championship show has been cancelled. All entry fees to be refunded.


The Working and Pastoral Breeds Association of Wales championship show at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Showground, Builth Wells, will go ahead.


The astute ladies of the WELKS continue to keep in close touch with the Three Counties Agricultural Society Showground which has suspended all events in March. Anne Bathurst, secretary of the dog section at Three Counties show in June, has issued a positive press release encouraging exhibitors to enter subject, to a further review of the ongoing situation.


Three and a half weeks into the outbreak which has caused misery to hundreds of already hard hit farmers, the disease has still not peaked. In 1967 when some 442,000 animals were destroyed it took 51/2 weeks to decline - warm, dry weather being its worst enemy.


All events in Ireland have been suspended by the IKC and the favoured early May date for the postponed St Patrick’s Day show has yet to be confirmed.


Horse Racing resumed last week at Lingfield, Surrey with the Government rejecting pleas for an all out suspension.
An import ban on dogs and cats from the UK remains in Cyprus, Gibraltar, Belgium and Spain. In Holland the Dutch Minister of Agriculture has imposed a temporary ban on all events, with animals to prevent the spreading of foot and mouth disease. As for now, dog and cat shows can go ahead as planned. Organisers of horse events will have to apply for special permission which will be given after it has been proven that sufficient precautionary measures have been taken; that the trailers that will be used have not been used for transport of cattle and sheep and that none of the horses come from farms where animals sensitive to FMD are kept.


All other events in Holland have been cancelled and all transport of sheep and goats has been forbidden. Farmers who ignored this transport ban have been fined and their stock which they transported illegally has been destroyed. The first confirmed case of Foot & Mouth has been discovered in France in the Loire Valley.


Cat shows, too, have been hit by the crisis, with four large shows, with Surrey & Sussex Cat Club, Cambridgeshire Cat Club, West of Scotland Cat Club and Scotia Cat Fanciers’ All Breeds Cat Club all announcing cancellations.
An ‘Update on Shows & Events’ column has replaced OUR DOGS’ efficient show diary column on ‘Dog Days’ - page 15 of OD2.


As we go to press this is the latest news from principal shows:-


MARCH 31 - SCOTTISH BREEDS - EDINBURGH
Regrettably the committee have to announce that the forthcoming championship show on the 31st March 2001 has been postponed. The club is in touch with the Kennel Club and hopes to hold the show as soon as possible. Anyone requiring any information is welcome to contact the Secretary for further information on Tel: 01465-714919, Fax: 01465-710056, e-mail: johnm@gletayne.freeserve.co.uk.


MARCH 31 - UK TOYDOG SOCIETY - STAFFORD
The United Kingdom Toydog Society championship show scheduled for March 31 2001 has been postponed due to the escalating foot and mouth situation. The Committee of the Society is currently reviewing the options available and a further announcement will be made in due course.


APRIL 7 - NATIONAL TERRIER - STAFFORD
It is with regret that the officers and committee of the National Terrier Club announce that the group championship show on 7th April 2001 has been postponed due to the current Foot & Mouth crisis. The decision to postpone has been based on advice received from Staffordshire County Council. The Show will now be held on Sunday August 12th.
Enquiries to Show Sec. Mrs M Shuttleworth 16 Frederick Ave, Hinckley, Leics Tel 01455 448582; www.nationalterrier.co.uk


APRIL 12-14 - BIRMINGHAM DOG SHOW SOCIETY - NEC, BIRMINGHAM
Unless directed to the contrary, it is the Birmingham Dog Show Society’s intention that the National Dog show will go ahead from the 12th - 14th April 2001 as planned. The Society’s decision has been taken after very careful consultation with the authorities but as the show does not take place for four weeks, it is too early to forecast the continued progress of this dreadful virus and its impact on the venues such as the NEC.
If the Society is able to go ahead, the Society will, if necessary and in conjunction with the NEC arrange for disinfecting pads to be placed at car park entrances and at the entrance to the halls. Further, Cromessol advises that benches will be sprayed each evening with a disinfectant that is effective against Food & Mouth Disease.
Should the society decide to postpone the show in the absence of any directive, the appropriate decision will be made at the end of March when steps will then be taken to inform exhibitors and judges of the alternative date and other information related to entries.


APRIL 14 - HOUND ASSOCIATION OF SCOTLAND - EDINBURGH
It is the intention of the Association that the Championship Show to be held at the Royal Highland Exhibition Hall, Ingliston on April 14th will go ahead as planned.
The date for closing entries has now been extended to Monday 19th March 2001 (Postmark).
The Royal Highland Agricultural Society of Scotland which is continuously in touch with MAFF has, at present, no problem with the show taking place.


APRIL 21 - WORKING BREEDS AND PASTORAL ASSOCIATION OF WALES - BUILTH WELLS

Show Secretary Jan Rual has confirmed that at the moment the show is still planned to go ahead, but MAFF and the Royal Welsh Showground are having a meeting on the 20th March and the result of their discussions is awaited. Jan Rual said: “I am hopeful a decision will be made at this meeting and as soon as I have a decision I will let everyone know”.


APRIL 27-29 - WELKS - MALVERN
Show postponed. Click here for full details


MAY 19-20 - SCOTTISH KENNEL CLUB - EDINBURGH

After due consideration, The Scottish Kennel Club has announced that it intends to go ahead with the May championship show as planned. This also applies to the Open Agility Test and Competitions as well as the Top Dog Event.
A special meeting of the Finance and Administration Committee was called to discuss the implications of the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak and the change of date for Crufts. The decision took account of the fact that the date of the show is over two months away and the arrangements with the Royal Highland Agricultural Society for the lease of Ingliston remain unchanged.
The view has been taken that exhibitors may welcome the opportunity of this Representative show to give their dogs an outing immediately prior to Crufts. It is appreciated, however, that some owners may have been holding back from entering in view of the present uncertainty and, with this in mind, the closing date for entries has been extended to Tuesday 17th April (Postmarked).


MAY 25-28 (RE-SCHEDULED DATE) - CRUFTS - NEC, BIRMINGHAM


JUNE 1-3 - SOUTHERN COUNTIES - CRAWLEY

Southern Counties show will go ahead as usual on June 1st, 2nd and 3rd assuming that the current movement restrictions on farm animals as a result of the Foot and Mouth epidemic have been lifted. The showground is in the heart of countryside that has so far not been affected so postponement will be the only responsible action if the outbreak is still not under control.
The Association’s main concern is the increased pressure on exhibitors and trade stands with the show being held so soon after Crufts. Exhibitors can be assured that the show management will make every effort to ensure that the show runs as smoothly as usual.


JUNE 7-10 (RE-SCHEDULED DATE) BATH CANINE SOCIETY - BATH
Show Secretary, Gillian Waring has confirmed that this show will now take place from 7th - 10th June at the same venue. The closing date for entries is now 24th April. Commenting on the change of show dates Gillian said: “I would like to sincerely thank all the judges and exhibitors for standing by us at such a difficult time”.


JUNE 11-14 - THREE COUNTIES AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY - MALVERN
Organisers are promising would-be exhibitors a full refund on entry fees should the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease take its toll on the event.
The Three Counties Agricultural Society is urging dog-owners to submit entry forms for the Three Counties championship show (11 - 14 June), before the May 1 deadline, safe in the knowledge that they will be reimbursed if the show does not go ahead as planned.
The society is currently acting on advice from the MAFF and the Environmental Health Officer, and all animal events scheduled to take place at its Malvern Showground home in March have been either cancelled or postponed.
The situation is constantly under review.
Dog Show Secretary, Anne Bathurst commented: “Last year’s Show attracted more than 8,000 dogs from all over the country, and although entries for 2001 are beginning to come in, people are naturally concerned about the impact of foot and mouth, particularly in the light of the decision to postpone Crufts.
“We hope that the disease will soon be under control, and that we can look forward to another successful event. In the meantime, we want to encourage dog-owners to submit their entry forms as normal, and assure them that they will not be out of pocket if the worst should happen”.