Nod for eight more collection centre marts

6 July 2001

Nod for eight more collection centre marts

By James Garner

and Wendy Owen

THE hard-core debate preventing many collection centres from getting the go-ahead was settled last week when the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agreed that markets with pervious areas could be allowed.

Another eight sites were given the green light last week, bringing the total in England and Wales to 29.

About 40 applications are being held up, not all because they have hard-core areas, says a Meat and Livestock Commission spokesman. But he expects many more approvals by the end of this week.

A full list of licensed collection centres is available on the MLCs web-site (

Even though more centres are coming on-line, there is some confusion about prices and abattoirs are unsure whether to offer live or deadweight prices.

Bill Howard, livestock procurement officer for Northern Counties Meat in Sunderland, says that offering liveweight prices for animals at collection centres is not cost-effective.

"Animals at marts have usually been standing for several hours and are empty before they are weighed," he says. "If we offered to pay on a liveweight system, we would end up buying bellyfuls of grain and grass.

"I cannot understand why DEFRA cannot allow stock to go to collection centres and be put through the ring. They could then be licensed to go to the abattoir from there."

Mr Howard says the rules applying to the system are confusing. He is unsure whether he can view stock at the collection centre before buying.

Yorks trading standards officer Robin Mair says this should not be allowed despite precautions. Collection centres are still a possible source of disease transfer and allowing animals and people to mix freely is too great a risk.

A DEFRA spokesman agreed. He says the official line is that only a few people should be allowed into the mart to limit disease risk.

In York, the local auction mart has found that its abattoir customers prefer to buy sheep on a liveweight basis.

"It suits the abattoir better because we can mix the lots before they arrive at the slaughterhouse," says Stephensons auctioneer, Richard Tasker.

"If 10 farmers each send 10 sheep on a deadweight basis, they have to be kept separate all the way down the killing line so the individual vendors can get the right price for each animal. That obviously means more work."

Kay Fitton of Fittons abattoir, Oldham, Lancs, agrees: "We prefer to take sheep on a liveweight basis so they can be grouped together down the line. It also suits most of the farmers, who are more used to a liveweight system.

"We have been letting centres decide whether they offer live or deadweight prices for cattle, because we can easily identify them in the abattoir," she says. &#42

Licensed collection centres




Salisbury Wed/Thur

Truro Wed

North Devon Meat* Mon/Wed/Fri

Bodmin** tba

(Gordon Martin &Son)

Melton Mowbray Tue/Thur

York Mon/Thur

Thirsk Mon/Thur

Ross-on-Wye Tue/Fri

Bury St Edmunds** Tue

(Hill Farm Sheep)

Bideford Tue

Honiton Tue/Thur

Exeter Mon/Wed/Thur

Burton-on-the-Water** Tue/Thur

(Edward Gilder)

Cheltenham*** Mon/Wed

(Graham Gilder)

Bridgnorth Tue

Leyburn Wed

Thame Tue/Thur

Oswestry Wed


Gaerwen, Anglesey tba

Carmarthen Mon/Thur

Lampeter Mon

St Asaph Mon/Thur

Ruthin Tue/Wed

Bala Tue/Thur

Aberystwyth Mon/Wed/Fri

Newcastle Emlyn Thur

Aberystwyth** tba

(H Mathews &Son)

Haverfordwest Tue

Wrexham** Tue/Wed

(J M Jones)

All are auction marts except as follows:

*Abattoir (cattle only); **private holding (sheep only); ***private holding.

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