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Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Livestock sales resume in Scotland
Livestock auctioneer Tim Brassington at Stanfords Auctioneers
Markets across the UK were cancelled in the wake of the crisis
The first livestock auction since the beginning of the foot-and-mouth crisis is to be held in Scotland under stringent restrictions.

The market will be held in Orkney next Monday as restrictions on the movement of livestock are eased across most of Scotland.

Cattle markets will also be permitted in Shetland and the Western Isles from Monday.

But only those markets meeting strict cleansing and disinfecting regulations will be able to obtain licences to hold sales.

Risks remain

Scottish rural development minister Ross Finnie, who announced the resumption of business in Orkney, said the sales marked another step towards the resumption of normal life for farmers.

Livestock market
Markets will resume across much of Scotland
"This is good news for the industry," he said.

"Some might think that the accompanying regulations are too severe but it is critical that everyone remains vigilant and understands that risks are still attached to live markets.

"It is therefore absolutely essential that everyone observes to the letter the strict bio-security arrangements which will be introduced so that we can continue to keep Scotland free of foot-and-mouth while allowing the movement of some stock through markets."

Jim Walker, president of the National Farmers' Union (NFU) of Scotland, said on Tuesday: "Today's announcement is another step on the way to making the livestock sector workable again.

Unless we proceed with caution further steps will be compromised

Jim Walker
NFU Scotland

"Farmers have been desperate to see a timetable and the conditions for the resumption of livestock markets.

"We have pressed the Scottish Executive to ensure that the protocol for the resumption of sales was available as soon as possible."

But he warned: "Unless we proceed with caution, further steps will be compromised.

"The vets have determined the bio-security conditions, which are strict but essential if we are to remain foot-and-mouth free.

"I cannot over-emphasise the importance of marts, producers, contractors and anyone else involved adhering to these conditions."

'No surprise'

John Copland, manager of Orkney Auction Mart Limited, Kirkwall, said he expects up to 500 animals at the sale, with crofters and farmers travelling from many islands in the area.

We had been pushing to resume the mart here for a while

John Copland
Orkney Auction Mart Limited

He said: "It is no surprise that we are the first part of the UK to resume markets.

"We were 325 miles from the nearest case of foot-and-mouth.

"We had been pushing to resume the mart here for a while - but we are delighted that we have finally got the go-ahead."

The last livestock market held there took place almost six months ago.

Mr Copland said only auction and government veterinary officials would be allowed close contact with livestock.

From 1 September cattle and sheep will be allowed to be sold in all disease-free areas.

But areas worst hit by the disease, including Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders, will not be allowed to resume livestock auctions yet.

A spokesperson from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was hoped livestock markets would be resumed throughout the UK in due course.

Wales's chief vet, Tony Edwards
"Unless we do something substantial now, we are not going to stop the spread of the disease"
See also:

14 Aug 01 | Wales
Beacons cull reaches key stage
10 Aug 01 | Wales
Latest Becons cull begins
29 Jun 01 | Wales
Disease cluster grows
26 Jun 01 | Wales
Vets test for virus on Beacons
25 Jun 01 | Wales
Vets try to trace Beacons virus
22 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Foot-and-mouth: A moving target
23 Apr 01 | UK
Dioxins: What are they?
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