2 November 2001

Auctions smear in restock warning

THE government angered auctioneers after telling thousands of farmers hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis to avoid restocking farms with livestock bought from auction markets.

Chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore launched two advisory booklets for livestock farmers wanting to restock in London on Tuesday (30 October). The booklets are aimed at encouraging farmers to make sure they know as much as possible about any new animals they are buying, he said.

Mr Scudamore said 1100 farms out of 9336 units that were culled out during the crisis were now eligible for re-stocking. Where possible, farmers should purchase direct from sellers rather than from livestock markets when they re-open, he told a media briefing.

"Many factors have to be taken into consideration when purchasing stock [but] controlling the risk of introducing disease needs to be a priority for farmers. The problem is when different animals come together from lots of different farms, as happened at Longtown market in February"

But auctioneers insisted that markets should play a role in restocking culled farms despite government advice to avoid them. Livestock Auctioneers Association chairman Peter Kingwill said farmers would need markets to restock when they opened on a larger scale.

He added: "It is unfair to quote Longtown as representative. There were particular problems associated with that market at that time. &#42