The Vegetarian International Voice for Animals group plan a demo outside the gig on the day, and have written to the bands playing, including Coldplay and Ash, to voice their concerns...

A vegetarian pressure group is urging people to boycott the upcoming FARM AID foot & mouth benefit show, saying farmers don’t need extra financial support.

The group, Vegetarian International Voice for Animals, (VIVA), are also planning to stage a demonstration outside Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on October 27. They have already written to bands taking part voiced their concerns. Coldplay, Ash and Toploader are amongst those already confirmed.

VIVA has accused farmers of making a “healthy profit” from compensation claims made in the light of animals slaughtered and revenue lost in the foot and mouth crisis.

So far 37 farmers in the UK have applied for over one million pounds in compensation.

“Farmers have brought foot-and-mouth on themselves with the overcrowded condition of factory farms and the vast distances which animals are made to travel from farm to market and then to slaughter,” spokesperson Becky Smith told the BBC.

Ian Bell, spokesperson for rural charity the ARC Addington Fund, one of the event’s beneficiaries, hit back, saying: “In Britain, we have some of the highest welfare standards in the world. I would disagree that [foot-and-mouth] has been brought on by ourselves. We can’t prove it, but it’s more likely to have come from imported food.”

Event organiser Michael Eavis, the man also behind Glastonbury Festival and himself a dairy farmer, has yet to respond. However, at Farm Aid’s launch on Wednesday (September 5) he insisted the show was necessary as so many farmers were “really struggling” countrywide.

It is the second controversy to overshadow the show in days. On Wednesday, Eavis blasted big name acts, such as U2, Robbie Williams and the Manic Street Preachers, for refusing to perform. “They don’t really see it as their problem. They don’t identify with small farmers’ problems. They’ve got loads of money,” he said.

He hopes to raise £500,000, but admits he is still five quality acts shy of a strong bill.