Major agricultural shows in Cumbria could be hit by the new bovine TB post-movement testing rules. 

Discussions are ongoing as to how the show community will tackle the rules brought in earlier this month.

It is feared the new regulations could affect entries at some of the shows.

Uncertainty also surrounds how the new rules will affect those local breeders showing their cattle outside of the county.

Two years ago the Westmorland Show after much soul-searching decided to take the controversial step to help stop the spread of the deadly disease, by insisting that all cattle entries should be subject to a blood-based pre-movement TB test.

A spokesman said the show was still in discussion over the new regulations.

Current rules for agricultural shows say all cattle that are being tested annually must be checked for the disease before they can enter. Those on a four-year testing regime are exempt from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ruling.

The new rules introduced early last week require cattle moving onto a holding in the Low Risk Areas, including Cumbria, from England’s High Risk Area, Edge Area and Wales to be post-movement tested between 60 and 120 days after arrival.

It is the farmer’s responsibility to organise and pay for the tests.

Cattle moved from herds in the LRA to non-exempt shows in the HRA, Edge Area and Wales will need to be post-movement tested when they return to the home farm.

Non-exempt shows outside the LRA will be defined as those lasting for more than 24 hours and that house cattle overnight.

Cattle are deemed to be housed when they are kept in a structure with a roof and walls which includes a marquee with sides.

Shows outside the LRA that last for less than 24 hours will be exempt. This will affect some of the big shows from the North West of England, through to the Midlands, Wales and South West, areas currently under one-year or more frequent TB testing.

Some of these are likely to struggle to attract entries from the northern and eastern counties, if the rules stay as they are.

Defra have been quoted as saying they 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.