Bovine TB restrictions could have a serious impact on the number of entries to upcoming winter fairs and next year’s shows, organisers have warned.
New rules introduced 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.
Some shows managed to secure dispensations last year by segregating cattle from the high and low risk areas, but no such solution is available this year.
Defra said the exemptions were made as show organisers said they did not have sufficient time to adapt to the changes enforced in April.
Organisers of the English Winter Fair said the restrictions could have a big impact on numbers.
Richard Williams, chief executive of the Birmingham and Staffordshire Agricultural Society which organises the winter fair, said: "It is a big blow for us, as it will be for other show organisers. I expect to see farmers from low risk TB areas having to choose to attend one show this winter rather than competing at a number of events.
"So far our livestock entries are good but we will not 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, do not 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 show team, sending some animals to one and some to another," added Mr Williams.
"Or farmers will choose to attend one winter fair with stock which then will not be able to travel to another."