Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Sunday, 26 July 2009 17:50 UK

'Tup taxis' ease ram sale traffic

Sheep in a field
More than 500 sheep will be up for sale at in Llanelwedd, Powys, next month

Hailing a cab will take on a whole new meaning when Welsh farmers gather for a sheep sale.

Organisers will be using a fleet of so-called "tup taxis" in an attempt to ease traffic problems on the Royal Welsh showground in Llanelwedd, Powys.

Tup is another name for a ram, and more than 30 cabs made up of quad bikes and trailers will even have their own taxi rank, for farmers to flag them down.

They will carry their woolly customers to a waiting stock lorry.

Tup taxis were first used at sheep sales in Scotland at Kelso to avoid traffic gridlock in areas where the animals were sold.

Now the National Sheep Association (NSA) wants to use them at its Wales and borders early ram sale of 550 sheep on 3 August.

'Demands'

The event will be used as a trial run for the NSA's main sale in September when 7,000 sheep will be on show.

Organisers said when farmers had bought a pen of sheep the tup taxis would carry the animals to a waiting stock lorry or trailer, parked in a nearby field.

Ram sale committee secretary Jane Smith said: "The quad bike taxi service for rams has been in operation at Kelso for some years and is expected to relieve traffic difficulties when the main (NSA) sale reverts to a one-day event in September.

"We're confident that the system will work well, and the early sale will give buyers the opportunity to get to grips with it and to recognise that it will need their co-operation to operate efficiently.

"The main sale has traditionally been held on one day in September and we're keen to satisfy the demands of the trade by reverting to the one day.

"It does though present logistical challenges and we feel that once people get the hang of the system then the tup taxis will work well to prevent traffic problems in what is by definition a congested area."



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