Rabbit classes at this year’s Honley Show have been cancelled because of a deadly virus.

Organisers of the event, taking place on June 11, have cancelled the entire rabbit section because of an outbreak of VHD2.

The virus can kill domestic and wild rabbits.

A spokesman for the show, one of the biggest in the region, said: “Unfortunately due to outbreaks of the rabbit virus VHD2 in the local area and to ensure animal welfare and protect all involved, regretfully, the rabbit section has been cancelled at Honley Show this year.

“We are in the process of contacting all exhibitors.”

Traditionally the rabbit section attracts dozens of competitors and is a huge favourite with thousands of visitors.

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The virus is highly infectious and contagious. It is an airborne virus that can be spread by biting insects, or by direct and indirect contact with infected rabbits.

Other shows, notably some in Devon and Cornwall, have also cancelled rabbit classes because of fears over the virus.

Last year Honley Show had to cancel all horse classes to avoid the spread of a highly-contagious - and potentially fatal - disease hitting horses across the UK.

Show spokesman John Purvis said: “It is sad news but the rest of the Show will go on and there will be a full day of entertainment with new attractions and old favourites.”