Scots markets may reopen in autumn


5 July 2001



Scots markets may reopen in autumn


By Shelley Wright, Scotland correspondent

SOME livestock markets could be given the green light to resume in Scotland in the autumn, rural development minister Ross Finnie has announced.

But it will be at least September before any sales are permitted and these would be north of the infected areas of Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders.

This follows news that cattle and pigs sales can resume in Northern Ireland on 30 July. Most sheep sales are still banned, but this will be reviewed in August.

There as still no plans for markets to reopen markets in England or Wales, where the most recent foot-and-mouth outbreaks have occurred.

Mr Finnie said he recognised that his timescale for resuming trade would disappoint those normally involved with earlier sheep breeding sales.

But rather than keep people in suspense I think it is better to signal now that markets cannot be held before the end of August, he explained.

After that, unless the situation has deteriorated, some form of livestock markets and sales could be allowed in September, Mr Finnie said.

I am fully aware of the important role which markets play, particularly in the autumn, he said.

But, he added, foot-and-mouth spread in the UK from a small number of infected animals going through a mart.

It would take only a small number of infected animals mixing with others this autumn to take us back to where we started.

By the end of August, results of most of blood tests of sheep in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders should be known.

Mr Finnie said he could foresee some form of markets outwith previously infected areas to help ease stocking pressure.

Any markets, however, would be subject to extremely strict biosecurity and other necessary controls, he said.

Discussions with the industry are now underway to see if sufficient controls can be put in place.

Three cases of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed on Thursday (5 July), including two in North Yorkshire, and one in Cumbria.

The UK total now stands at 1814.

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