Mart owners can utilise their systems and facilities to implement alternative trade mechanisms that support the “orderly” sale of animals.
The announcement was made by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), earlier this morning (Tuesday, March 31st).
This, a statement from the DAFM outlined, includes where the movement of animals is essential and, in particular, to maintain the food supply chain and protect the health and welfare of animals. “Normal mart auction activity cannot resume until further notice.” the statement outlined.
Calves and older livestock
“In this context, two types of activities seem possible, provided they are essential and minimise the potential for contact between people.”
- For calves – a service whereby a farmer can deliver calves to the mart, by appointment, so that orders for purchase can be matched and facilitated via the mart;
- For older livestock – a weighing service for lots of cattle/sheep, by appointment, with the mart facilitating the transaction between a buyer and a seller.
Other activities, including online and other uses of new technology, can also be considered, the spokesperson added.
Marts will have to submit an SOP, outlining how they propose to operate, and, in particular, the measures that will be put in place to ensure the following requirements as set out by the DAFM:
- Only the minimum number of staff necessary for the safe running of operations are present at any one time in marts – “Ordinarily, there seems little reason that this needs to involve more than 3 or 4 people”;
- Only the minimum number of clients are present in the mart premises at any one time (This will likely involve phone contact, individual appointment times being allocated to sellers to drop off cattle and individual appointment times being allocated to individual buyers to view/collect cattle and the seller and buyer attending on their own without any other persons;
- Physical distancing measures in compliance with HSE guidelines will be ensured;
- Appropriate hygiene measures to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission will be in place.
‘Orderly alternative manner’
“Until you have written confirmation from the SVI that your proposal is satisfactory, you should not resume any activities in the mart premises.”
“The above will be kept under review and further guidance will issue as necessary.”
“Whilst no one measure can replace a public auction at a mart, it is hoped that the above measures, in a tightly controlled manner in full compliance with HSE guidelines in relation to hygiene and social distancing, will allow marts to help facilitate the necessary movement and trade in animals in an orderly, alternative manner.”