THREE PEOPLE were arrested following noisy demonstrations by animal welfarists and vegetarians outside Earls Court during the week’s Royal Smithfield Show, 25 years ago.

Protesters carried banners which proclaimed “Meat is Murder” and “Stuff the Turkey Trade”, while the research adviser to the Vegetarian Society, Dr Alan Long, claimed that “meat is going off in the public’s esteem”.

But inside the hall, the industry mounted a major propaganda counter-offensive. The Meat and Livestock Commission had devoted its entire space at the show to presenting the facts about the importance of meat in providing necessary proteins, vitamins and minerals in the human diet.

The Commission’s chairman, Mr Keith Roberts, said people in Britain had probably never been more diet conscious than in 1984, and there was nothing wrong with that.

“The trouble is that the genuine concern about diet and health is being exploited by extremist groups, and so much distorted and inaccurate information is being circulated that people are frequently misled,” said Mr Roberts in 1984.

25 years ago

n Scottish stock kept up their traditional winning streak at Smithfield, taking all the major championship and reserve awards – though it was a less traditional animal which brought the supreme award north. Leading the fray was first-time exhibitor, Alex Herbage, from Dalchully and Coul estates at Laggan Bridge, Newtonmore. His baby steer, Thunderflash, took the ring by storm to beat off hardened Smithfield campaigners at their own game.

n Pure Suffolks reigned supreme in the sheep rings at Smithfield, taking both the championship and reserve awards. A pair of ewe lambs from Howard Peel’s Tuxford flock from Newark in Notts, took the top award in only his second visit to the show. But he didn’t know if he would show at Smithfield again as it was for him “maybe a one off event”. The June-born lambs were sired by the 6000gns Barron’s Drambuie which was champion at the Edinburgh breed sale in 1979. In fact, there was a double cross of Drambuie in the lambs, as their mothers were also sired by him.

n Scottish Smithfield sheep championship successes were confined to Alex Brown’s Texels from Stonefieldhill, Rosewell, Midlothian. His pen of three took the live/dead butcher’s lamb award, and the member of the pen that was slaughtered was adjudged top individual carcase. Mr Brown also brought out a pair of pute Texels to win the breed class.

n Winners of the 1984 Border Cattleman and Shepherd of the Year awards were Bert Goodfellow, of Falsidehill, Kelso, and Jim Kirk, of Crailinghall, Jedburgh. The competition, open to shepherds and cattlemen whose employers farmed in the Borders and Northumberland, was based on points awarded at five major shows in the area – the Border Union, Berwickshire, St Boswells, Glendale and Peebles. The winners received trophies and cheques at a presentation with 150 guests in Kelso.

50 years ago

n Probably never before has the inter-breed ascendancy of the pure-bred Aberdeen-Angus been more overwhelming at a Scottish National Fat Stock show (or elsewhere for that matter!) than at the 49th annual fixture of the Scottish National Fat Stock Club, held in the Waverley Market, Edinburgh. Of the 11 trophy championships and reserve awards open to individual entries of all breeds and crosses, exhibits from the pure-bred A-A section claimed all but one – the reserve for the opposite sex to the best butcher’s beast. Prince of Merger was the supreme champion, a rising two-year-old home-bred steer from the comparatively new herd of Wych Cross Estates, based at Old Place Farm, Angmerging, Sussex. It was the first supreme victory scored by an English herd at Edinburgh since the war.

n John Kerr, Red Hall, Wigton, won the championship at Wigton Christmas show and sale with an Aberdeen-Angus cross Galloway. It sold at £13 10s per cwt, to a local butcher who paid a total of £151 17s 6d for the animal.

n Mr R Watson, who went to England 14 years previously from Ayr where his father and other members of his family farmed, won second prize for larger herds in the Silcock 1000gns competition for national pig recorded herds. Farming 360 acres at Old Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Bucks, Mr Watson started keeping pigs eight years previously and had a herd of about 30 sows. He also had a herd of 200 Ayrshire cattle.