The Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland is determined that the Royal Highland Show (RHS) will remain a showcase for the whole of Scottish agriculture despite a call by PETA for the award-winning four-day event to become exclusively vegan.
The Show, which attracts up to 200,000 visitors each year contributing £39.5m to the Scottish economy, is key in connecting producers and consumers of Scottish agriculture.
In its 201st year, the Show is a platform for Scotland’s agriculture in its widest sense, including fruit and vegetables, oils, meat, and dairy produce such as ice cream and cheese.
It also has a strong focus on driving innovation with a view to achieving the industry’s sustainable targets.
Commenting on the letter, RHASS Chief Executive Officer, Alan Laidlaw said: “We disagree with PETA’s misrepresentation of the Royal Highland Show including labelling sheep shearing as ‘cruel’.
“This reflects a lack of understanding of what is required for good animal health, wellbeing and the importance of Scottish agriculture.
“I can only assume that this is to grab media attention, however while most will see through this for what it is.
“It has the potential to further undermine our proud agricultural sector and our farmers who work 24/7 to feed our nation with a wide choice of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat for the many millions who choose to make that part of their diet.”
RHASS is a registered charity which focuses on promoting the interests of Scottish agricultural and rural Scotland, this includes arable and horticultural farmers, and has over 15000 members.
Each year, RHASS provides free access to around 40,000 children to attend the Royal Highland Show, with school children getting the chance to meet the farmer and understand more about food provenance and production.
RHASS aims to provide a platform for informed debate on food, farming, and the challenges the industry faces while celebrating the sector and its achievements.
RHASS would welcome any future discussions with interested parties who wish to put Scottish agriculture and a thriving rural economy at the forefront of their plans.
Tickets for the Royal Highland Show 2023 are still on sale and can be purchased at royalhighlandshow.org ahead of the event.