Auctioneers safeguard cattle cash

By Simon Wragg

AUCTIONEERS in England and Wales have agreed to introduce a new clause into conditions of sale to ensure vendors of finished cattle receive the new slaughter premium to which they are entitled.

However, Scottish auctioneers remained undecided as to their action.

The agreement south of the border follows the Livestock Auctioneers Associations annual meeting in Northants after which members agreed a single, unified action.

The new clause will prevent cattle entered into fat rings being held longer than a month after sale.

Such a move could jeopardise a producers entitlement to the premium payable from 1 January next year worth £17 a head initially, but rising to over £50 by 2002.

Specialist finishers wanting to feed on prime cattle can do so by declaring their intention and reimbursing the subsidy to vendors, say auctioneers.

Up to 15% of all prime cattle could be affected, says the LAA.

“Were imposing a condition of sale in designated slaughter rings which means that the buyer in that ring who fails to slaughter the animal within one month of purchase will be liable to pay back the full premium to the original vendor,” said LAA chairman Ian Lawton.

This decision is being supported by Welsh Auctioneers. “Were doing exactly the same,” said Welsh LAA chairman Malgwyn Evans.

But auctioneers in Scotland have yet to agree a unified stance, although a decision is expected this week, according to auctioneers secretary Willie Blair.

Meetings with Scottish ministry officials took place on Tuesday. Their delay in informing auction companies of how the scheme will operate has been blamed for holding up the decision-making process.

A similar criticism had been levelled at MAFF officials by auctioneers south of the border.

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