The Kennel Club of England postponed the Crufts Dog Show, which was scheduled for March 8-11, 2001 in Birmingham, England because of an escalating situation with foot and mouth disease. This highly contagious condition affects cattle, sheep, swine, and other cloven-hoofed animals with the exception of horses. While not at risk to infection, dogs as well as humans may be carriers of the disease. The dog show has been rescheduled for Memorial Day weekend.
Currently, there are 103 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom and foot and mouth disease, also known as hoof and mouth disease,has started turning up in Scandinavian countries as well. Along with Crufts, a number of other events have been called off to comply with the Ministry of Agriculture quarantine requirements. The Cheltenham Festival, a horse race, has been cancelled, however,organizers are hoping to reschedule for the end of April. The Irish Rugby Football Union will not play six matches against English and Scottish teams because of the outbreak and other sporting events are in jeopardy.
“We have thought very long and hard regarding our position on this issue,” said Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Dog Show manager. “We strongly believe that it is in the best interests of all concerned that in the circumstances, the postponement of the show is necessary and unavoidable.”
Wayne Cavanaugh, co-host of the Animal Planet cable network’s coverage of Crufts, expressed concern for the exhibitors and spectators who plan far in advance to attend this prestigious show.””The postponement has far reaching implications,”” he said. “”There are many people who have non-refundable airline tickets and tour packages plus the vendors, hotels and all the others who are profoundly impacted by the change.”” Animal Planet also has been airing “”Countdown to Crufts”” programming that could not be changed by the time the postponement was announced.
“I’m looking forward to a great show on Memorial Day weekend,”Cavanaugh said. “In spite of everything, Crufts is still the biggest show in the world and the postponement won’t take away the importance for the eventual winner of the show.”