Cattle at the Wairarapa A&P Show last year. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

BECKIE WILSON
beckie.wilson@age.co.nz

Patting a cow at the Wairarapa A&P Show will not be an option this year after organisers decided against including a cattle section as the risk of spreading the Mycoplasma bovis disease spread was too high.

October will be the 141st annual show at the Clareville Showgrounds, but for what is thought to be only the second time in its history, breeders will not be able to exhibit their cattle.

Wairarapa A&P society secretary Catherine Lord understood the show had cancelled the cattle section once before, when bovine tuberculosis was high in the region.

The biggest risk for the spread of the M.bovis is nose-to-nose contact.

Lord said it was “responsible” to exclude cattle this year, given Ministry of Primary Industries requirements.

“The hoops we need to jump through for MPI to have cattle there, we just don’t have the manpower.”

To allow cattle at the show, each pen would require high walls to avoid direct contact between cattle.

The society did not have the funds or manpower to do that, she said.

Dale Collie and her husband Gordon are saddened by the decision, but agreed the risk was too high for Wairarapa breeders.

The couple have been showing dairy cows at the show for about 40 years.

“It’s quite sad really but it’s just not worth the risk . . .  it’s a big decision to make,” she said.

It would be too difficult to keep each farm’s animals separate, she said.

The Collies run the dairy section of the show, but this year will be forced to take a break from that.

Dale Collie said it was unfortunate for the children with their pet calves not be allowed at the show.

Like Lord, Dale hopes the cancellation will be a one-off occurrence.

The Wairarapa A&P Show has joined a growing list of rural shows across the country that have cancelled the cattle sections for shows in Ashburton, Southland, and Taranaki.

Taranaki’s Egmont A&P show had already decided to cancel calf and cattle classes for its November event,

Canterbury A&P show organisers have kept the section open for its November show.

The Wairarapa A&P Show will be held at the Clareville Showgrounds from October 26-28.

Disease on the move

Since May 24, three Wairarapa farms have been issued with Notices of Direction by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

A NoD means animals from an infected farm may have moved on to the property, but testing has not begun.

A permit is required to move the animals off the properties.

Wairarapa has only one farm infected with the cow disease – a property in Bideford, near Masterton – which was announced in early June.