8 September 1995

Livestock markets put out of bounds by transport rules

By Liz Mason

EU TRANSPORT rules could make some UK livestock markets no-go areas for buyers, warns the Livestock Industry Support Trust.

LIST director Rowland Kershaw-Dalby said the proposed eight-hour journey limit for animals transported in ordinary lorries could create difficulties for producers in remote areas and UK auction markets.

"Already some buyers have withdrawn from some markets in the UK because they cannot guarantee to get animals to their home premises in 15 hours. When that is reduced to eight hours, a number of markets will become no-go areas for some buyers," he said.

"The British Pig Association is very conscious of this. It is lobbying in Europe to get the directive changed. We will be joining with and supporting it in that." MAFF has yet to publish its plans for implementing the rules, which are due to come into force in January 1997. But Mr Kershaw-Dalby said LIST was concerned over the definition of journey time.

"If it starts at the market, then it gives the buyer of stock eight hours to get the stock to a destination. If it starts at the farm of origin and time at the market is not considered rest time, then we are in difficulty," he said.

Strict rules on space allowances would also increase transport costs by about one third, said Mr Kershaw-Dalby.

Most livestock travel to and from markets in 22ft-24ft lorries loaded with 15-16 500cwt cattle, said Mr Kershaw-Dalby. Under the EU directive numbers would be cut to about 11.

Not in the best interests

He added that this was not necessarily in the best interest of animal welfare as animals were more likely to suffer hard knocks in transit. "We believe the directive has lost all sight of the science and practicality of livestock movement," he said.

Livestock transported in specially equipped lorries can travel for longer than eight hours. But Mr Kershaw-Dalby claimed "there are virtually no livestock vehicles in the UK at the moment which would qualify for the longer journeys".

&#8226 MAFF will be releasing its proposals to implement the EU transport directive for consultation in October.