Scottish government veterinary officials have granted permission for livestock auction sales to take place today at three locations (Thursday, 13th September) – Ayr, Dingwall and Lanark.
Animals at these sales can be moved to destinations in Scotland and England. Permission has also been granted for a sale at Thainstone Mart, Aberdeen tomorrow but these animals can only go to Scottish destinations.
An official spokesman told FWi the reasons behind these exceptions to the general movement ban were on the grounds of “welfare, practicality and safety.”
A spokesman for Dingwall and Highland Marts said the move had prevented a “nightmare scenario” at the mart which is auctioning 3500 Cheviot lambs.
Relief at go-ahead
Just prior to the start of the sale at noon, he told FWi they were hugely relieved to have been given the go-ahead.
The lambs which are going under the hammer are those, he said, which had arrived at the mart yesterday, prior to news of the suspected outbreak, and were being held in lairage.
The lambs were from Wester Ross and the Western Isles – including Skye, Harris and Taransay – and just a fraction of the total of 17,000 which had been scheduled to be sold. Buyers at the sale are from throughout Scotland and northern England, he said.
“So far we are hopeful of a reasonable sale – attendance looks not too bad,” said the spokesman. “Obviously we were very happy to the sale is going ahead, the alterative would have been a nightmare.”
Temporary lock-down at Lanark
Further south, the annual two day show and sale of elite Texels at Lanark had just started yesterday when news broke of the potential re-emergence of foot and mouth disease.
One Texel gimmer at the sale of 700 sheep was found to be showing suspicious symptoms resulting in a temporary lock-down at the event, attended by around 1000 people. The animal was later declared clear of disease.
And the latest outbreak could not have come at a worse time for the UK’s biggest multi-breed ram sale at Kelso, due to take place tomorrow (Friday). A total of 6132 rams were entered for the sale and would have been expected to gross around £2M.
The 16 sale rings and marquees erected to host the sale will now stand empty, with reports that Border Union Agricultural Society is set to be out of pocket by £80,000 – £100,000 as a result of the cancellation.