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Perth Royal Show bans pigs: EKKA attendance dips
Swine flu fears have forced the Perth Royal Show to cancel its pig exhibits to prevent animals from catching the virus from crowds.
Royal Agricultural Society of WA President Tony Devitt said the decision was made in consultation with industry representatives as a precautionary measure to limit any potential exposure of pigs to the H1N1 virus.
The move comes after Royal Adelaide Show and Queensland's Ekka organisers also cancelled pig displays at their shows earlier this month.
Devitt said although it was disappointing not to have the pig displays at this year's event, the Society's first priority was to ensure the best interests of the pig industry.
He said close to 10,000 animals would still be in competition and on display for the eight-day event.
Devitt stated "we have taken this step as a precaution to limit any potential exposure, however minimal, of pigs to the H1N1 virus.
"The Society has always implemented the strictest biosecurity measures at the event and this decision follows that policy.
"Showgoers will still have plenty of opportunity to interact with animals with two petting zoos and a pat a baby goat display."
Phil Durkin, Chair of the Australian Amusement, Leisure and Recreation Association's Transportable Rides & Attractions Committee has reported that the
Brisbane EKKA reported a 20% drop in attendance and that "many patrons were not spending once inside the gate."
Despite a promising first weekend, Durkin, writing in the monthly AALARA e-zine, reported that exhibitors "reported a significant shortfall in forecasted takings for the show, with some operators only recouping their rent three days from the close of the show."
Durkin went on to question the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA)'s thinking behind raising the gate entry price in a time of economic downturn, as situation, Durkin explained that "was compounded by a highly effective marketing campaign undertaken by Gold Coast theme parks targeting the south east Queensland family market."
On a more positive note Durkin explained that "three new rides at this year's show ... proved popular and we thank those operators who continue to invest in equipment and deliver world-class amusements at our events."
Dates for upcoming shows include:
Royal Adelaide Show - 4th to 12th September
Royal Melbourne Show -17th to 27th September
Perth Royal Show - 26th September to 3rd October.
19th August 2008 - QUEENSLANDERS FLOCK TO THE EKKA
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