One of the world's largest and most prestigious livestock exhibitions has been cancelled midway through proceedings due to mounting coronavirus fears.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo made the announcement on social media this morning that, in the interest of public health, the event had been forced to close with 10 days left in the 20 day program.
The event showcases everything from beef cattle, rabbits, dairy cattle, goats, sheep, llamas and alpacas, and has been running since 1932.
"In the interest of public health, the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department have ordered the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to close," a statement said.
"The rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the city's order.
"The rodeo is deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority.
"Out of precaution, the city has decided that this is the best course of action for our community."
The goat and lamb judging was being wrapped up while junior heifers on the ground for their upcoming events were being removed.
The announcement sparked plenty of backlash from exhibitors who demanded refunds and reimbursements for their financial losses.
"What do you intend to do to reimburse my child and the thousands of others who have spent the last year's worth of time, effort, and, money raising animals for this show when there is no valid reason to close the show other than fear mongering?" Wanda Voigt Lingner said.
"So why not continue to allow livestock exhibitors that have not had the opportunity to present their projects still bring their animals and be accompanied by one guardian and limit it to that?" Nicole Caughron said.
It comes just three weeks out from NSW's top livestock showing event, the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which will attract 841 beef cattle, 300 purebred and trade steers, 301 head of dairy, 564 meat and dual purpose sheep and 321 Merinos.
The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW had previously stated there were no changes to their plans but were reportedly holding a meeting on Thursday morning about the future of the event.
An RAS statement said they weretaking direction and advice, and working closely with NSW Health and other relevant authorities to remain updated and prepared.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government would consider if the event would still go ahead.