The Royal Cheshire County Show and next week week’s National Spring Spectacular show, in Derbyshire, have secured exemptions from Defra from the new post-movement testing rules that are threatening cattle entries at shows across the country.
The exemptions mean cattle coming to the shows from a Low Risk Area will not need to be tested for TB once they return home.
The exemption for the June Cheshire Show is accompanied by the following requirements:
HRA cattle arrival and departure times are not affected by the above. Pre-Movement TB Testing remains a requirement of all cattle attending the Show.
As a result of the Cheshire exemption, the closing date for Cattle entries has been revised and will continue to be accepted until Friday, May 27.
Royal Cheshire County Show Executive Director Nigel Evans said: “We hope that this exemption will encourage those exhibitors from an LRA to attend the 2016 Show, helping to make the first Royal Cheshire County Show a great success, with a good number of cattle in attendance."
“In terms of our closing date, this is now revised until Friday 27th May."
Julie Sedgewick, National Beef Association (NBA) National Spring Spectacular 2016 Co-ordinator Great welcomed the exemption, which she said could also be offered to other agricultural shows.
She said the NBA successfully lobbied the Defra TB programme for an exemption enabling cattle from the LRA entered for the National Spring Spectacular show, May 20 at Bakewell mart, to be exempt from post movement testing on return.
LRA cattle will have to be housed separately from HRA cattle, and the maximum time allowed on the showground will be 36 hours instead of 24.
She said: "Other Agricultural Shows can apply to Defra have the hours extended from the original 24, to 36 hours or 48 hours but the cattle must be housed separately."
Paul Hooper, secretary of the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO) said: "Through discussions with Defra, they have agreed to look on a case-by-by case situation at exemptions for shows this year.
"But it is a very unfortunate state of affairs this all happened at the eleventh hour."
A Defra spokesperson said licences allowing exemptions, including specific requirements to reduce the risk of TB spread, had been issued to two shows so far but others could apply.
He said: "The cattle measures we have introduced will help protect against cattle-to-cattle transmission and bring the Low Risk Area closer to achieving TB freedom."
The show community has been rocked by the introduction of post-movement testing in April, which requires cattle moved into the LRA from higher risk areas to be tested between 60 ad 120 days after their arrival.
As initially announced, the rules required cattle moving to multiple-day shows from the LRA to the Edge, HRA or Wales to be post-movement tested on their return.
The basic requirements were:
But a spokesman said Defra did ’not envisage’ requiring cattle moving to shows in the LRA from other areas having to be post-movement tested before they return home, ’given the impracticalities’, which would involve cattle remaining in the LRA for at least 60 days.
He said: “The existing legislation does allow us to require that but the licensing regime will enable us to allow movement back to the home premises straight after the show.”
The requirement, with its cost and 60-standstill for cattle that need to be post-movement tested, is threatening to reduce the number of cattle entered for some of the big shows this summer.
Defra Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens defended the policy in a recent interview with Farmers Guardian.