Sadly, the Rabbit Section will not run in 2016 due to the disease risk presented this year from VHD.
Please see below for further details:-
Message from Our Rabbit Section Secretary
When I opened the shed on the 1st of January and found two lovely new litters all fed and tucked up warm in their nests, I should have realised then that the year wasn't going to carry on in such a fortunate vein. Not three months later and the rabbit fancy was spinning with the worry of a new mutated strain of Viral Heamoralgic Disease, RHD2, spreading across the country with incredible speed; wiping out 11 studs of exhibition stock and to date it's estimated around 4000 rabbits have fallen foul to it.
VHD first appeared on our shores way back in the 1980s, some even say before that. So we have been through it before. Vaccinations were produced and pet owners were encouraged to vaccinate their pets, as it appeared to hit them more than exhibition stock. However, this new strain took us by surprise and even though the first reports back in Oct. 2015 came through to the British Rabbit Council offices, it wasn't until the outbreak took real hold that a new vaccine was sourced. This has been quite difficult to obtain and indeed, some vets are still unable to source it. A lot of exhibitors to date have still been unable to obtain the vaccine and this is the only way to protect stock from the disease.
The British Rabbit Council (BRC) are actively trying to manage the situation for exhibition stock. Anyone who has unexplained deaths is being asked to report the cases and wait for confirmation from a full post-mortem - blood tests are not enough to determine this strain. This is quite difficult for pet owners as a PM can be costly. We are now receiving a lot of unconfirmed cases in the Torfaen, Merthyr, Monthmouthshire and Newport areas and with the BRC recommendation to cancel shows within a 50 mile radius of an outbreak, we began to question whether it was safe and sensible to continue with the section at Usk Show this year. Exhibitors from infected areas would not be able to attend as this is an air-borne virus that can be carried on anything; car tyres, clothing, hair, so coming from an infected area to a show could potentially cause further spread. South Wales has recently had four confirmed cases in Camarthenshire, which immediately prevents seven regular exhibitors from attending. This along with the unconfirmed cases around the Usk Show area means that our entry would certainly be affected and disappointingly low as many would not risk attending.
It has been a difficult decision to cancel the rabbit section this year. But I feel we must protect our exhibitors from the possibilities of contracting RHD2 by attending the show. Time away will give them the opportunity to vaccinate their stock. We also must protect the reputation of the Usk Show itself. There is no evidence to suggest that any of the affected studs have ever caught RHD2 at a show, but I do not want anyone to be able to say they did at Usk. It is by far the best one day show of the year and I'm not having that accolade snatched away by this awful disease!
We will be right back in 2017!!! Bigger and better than ever.
Thank you for your understanding on this very difficult situation. I wish you all the very best for show day and hope that once again all records are broken, at the best show of the year.
Mrs Donna Routley-Nicholson
3 Coed Ederyn
Tel: 02920 634903