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David Nisbet reports
"A sad day for the show and the farming community"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Royal Highland Show cancelled
Highland show
The show features the country's prime livestock
Scotland's premier farming event, The Royal Highland Show, has been cancelled due to the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), which organises the event, took the decision after consultation with authorities and the wider agricultural industry.

The show, which normally attracts 150,000 visitors and features 4,000 of the country's top livestock specimens, was due to be held at Ingliston near Edinburgh at the end of June.

Until a few days ago - despite the extent of the outbreak - organisers had hoped to stage a scaled down event without cloven-footed livestock like sheep, cattle and pigs.

Highland show cattle
Organisers expressed their disappointment
But the confirmation of the disease near Jedburgh in the Borders, and Wigtownshire - areas miles away from farms previously affected by the virus - put pressure on the Highland Show organisers to cancel the event.

It was thought that many within Scotland's rural community would not have much inclination to attend what for many visitors is a social gathering.

RHASS chairman Sandy Brown said: "We had a number of options to consider including staging a show without cattle or sheep.

"However, with no real sign of a let-up in the foot-and-mouth situation, it would have been inappropriate and insensitive to continue with our plans for the 2001 event."

Tragedy and misery

This is the first time since the Second World War that the show has been cancelled.

In 1952, the show was held at Kelso without cloven-footed animals due to a foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Mr Brown said: "It will be a major disappointment for our exhibitors, the trade, our sponsors and visitors that the show is off.

"But that disappointment bears no comparison to the tragedy and misery caused by foot-and-mouth.

"At this time we must sympathise with all in the industry who, directly and indirectly, have been affected."

The number of confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease north of the Border has reached 150.

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