Fears horse flu may hurt local shows
By Janelle McLennan
WORRIED North Coast show societies are hoping against hope the ban on the movement of all horses across New South Wales due to the equine flu outbreak will be lifted before the start of the local show circuit next month .
If it's not, it could spell disaster for the shows, which would have to run without horse events and activities, severely cutting into their already slim profit margins.
The Agricultural Societies Council and the Department of Primary Industries announced yesterday shows throughout the State scheduled for this weekend would go ahead but without any involvement of horses, horse events or exhibits.
President of the Agricultural Societies Council, David Moor, said it was almost certain horses would also be banned from shows scheduled for September 8 and 9.
"I can't tell you at this stage what happens after," Mr Moor said.
"The situation will be reviewed as more information becomes available, but at the moment we're dealing with the matter on a day-by-day basis."
Organisers of the Nimbin show, which is due to be held on September 22 and 23, met yesterday and decided that if the ban was still in place by mid September the two-day show would be scaled back to one day.
"Horses are a major part of any show and if we have to run a show without them, we could lose up to 50 per cent of our normal takings," Nimbin show society president Phillip Williams said. "Like most show societies we generally only just scrape through every year, so if that were to happen it would make things very difficult."
Similarly, Kyogle, Casino and Lismore show societies are keeping their fingers crossed that the ban will be lifted by October and are proceeding with preparations as normal.
However, all said that if the ban was still in place a few weeks out from their shows they would have to%reassess their programs and look at adding extra attractions.