The 2001 edition of the National Barrow Show, scheduled in September, in Austin, MN, has been canceled to protect the welfare of the nation's hog industry.

The swine show officials chose to cancel the 55th annual event, in response to concerns regarding the possible spread of foot and mouth disease. The show was to be held Sept. 10 to 12, at the Mower County Fairgrounds, in Austin.

"After months of careful consideration, we concluded that conducting the show would not be in the best interests of America's hog industry," said Larry Rasch, NBS superintendent. "We are very aware of the anxiety producers are presently facing regarding foot and mouth disease and decided to cancel the event to eliminate the potential for an outbreak of this disease."

The premier event for the purebred hog industry, the National Barrow Show features all eight major purebred breeds: Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace, Poland China, Spotted and Yorkshire. The event is co-sponsored by the National Association of Swine Records, an organization which represents all eight breeds, and Hormel Foods Corp., based in Austin.

Since the show began in 1946, precautions continually have been taken to ensure the biosecurity of hogs exhibited and sold. A show veterinarian has been enlisted every year to evaluate and monitor the health of all entries.

This is not the first hog health concern in the U.S. to force the cancellation of the National Barrow Show, in its 55-year history. In 1952, the event was called off because of an outbreak of vesicular exanthema, a viral disease that only affects swine.

Rasch noted plans have been made to conduct the next show Sept. 9 to 11, 2002, in Austin, MN.

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