27 September 2000
Start date for organic livestock markets

By FWi staff

A NEW range of standards to let livestock markets trade in organic store and breeding stock for the first time go into practice in October.

The scheme is developed by the Soil Association, with the support of the Northern Organic Food Initiative.

They hope pilot markets in Brecon, south Wales and Carlisle in Cumbria will develop the traditional links between upland and lowland organic producers.

The sales will involve store and breeding animals only, not finished organic stock for slaughter.

Phil Stocker, Soil Association producer services manager, said: “Demand for organic meat is booming and we are beginning to see an increase in organic stock numbers, particularly from hill-farming areas.

“But these farmers need to re-visit the traditional system of livestock stratification.”

To comply with Soil Association standards, livestock sales must be made on fully approved premises that have been subject to full audit and inspection procedures.

A Soil Association inspector will attend these pilot sales, and future licensed markets will be subject to spot inspections.

This is to ensure animal welfare standards are correctly followed and to check organic certification details.

Pilot marts are being held at Brecon Livestock Market on 12 October and Borderway Mart, Carlisle on 20 October.

A further sale at Hexham Auction Mart in October is under discussion.