Should auction marts go ‘livestock-free’?

Calls by a former NFU vice president for livestock auctions to go “livestock-free” has sparked a fierce debate on the FWi forums.

Yorkshire farmer Paul Temple argues it would be more efficient if buyers and sellers met but viewed finished and store animals electronically. He stresses the importance of auctions, but says: “Ebay is proof that unseen selling works.”

On the forums, Beefandsleep disagrees, saying: “Private sales most often end up with the buyer thinking he paid over the odds and the seller worried he has been cheated.”

Welshnwilling adds: “The present livestock mart system has evolved over many years – if it’s not broken, don’t fix it!”

And Bull says: “I doubt livestock markets will be stock-free in my lifetime. Animal welfare would most likely suffer by using this idea. If a buyer buys a large number of animals from different places, the transport route from first to last farm could well be much harder on the stock than having them in a market yard for the day.”

What do you think? Is there potential in the idea or is it flawed? See what others are saying and have your say on the forums.