18 January 2002

Some live markets all set to return in mid-February

ITS official – some livestock markets in England and Wales will be reopening from the middle of February.

How many unlock their gates to live-animal trading during the next month will depend on which ones can comply with the new rules being proposed by government to oversee marts.

Earlier this week DEFRA released its draft document called the Market, Sales and Lairs Order 2002, containing the new rules governing livestock markets (see p28). In light of this it seems only right for farmers weekly to suspend its successful campaign to Save Our Markets.

But there is nothing like ending on a high note. Our campaign was launched on Nov 30 last year. Since then it has been hugely popular.

Before Christmas we presented junior DEFRA minister Lord Whitty with almost 1400 letters and e-mails from readers supporting our stance.

We promised then not to let up on the campaign and FW readers have backed this decision by forwarding a further 1400 letters and e-mails demanding to have live markets reopened.

In such a short time nearly 3000 readers have signed up. A phenomenal response and one that DEFRA cant fail to notice.

We will be keeping watch, though. DEFRA has made a promise to review the 21-day standstill and has outlined a timetable for markets to restart. If it does not, then rest assured FW will jump back on the campaign trail. We reckon we can count on our readers support. &#42