‘No plans in place to restrict direct access to animals at livestock marts’

Although ICOS (Irish Co-operative Organisation Society) is looking at measures “to keep insurance premiums as low as possible for co-operative marts”, AgriLand has learnt that any potential measures introduced will not affect farmers when it comes to purchasing animals.

Many farmers – especially those purchasing stock – raised concerns that the amount of time afforded to them to examine stock may be reduced significantly if they were to be banned from penning areas prior to the start of the sale.

However, in a statement to AgriLand, the umbrella group representing over 40 livestock marts said: “ICOS is committed to the health, safety and well-being of all mart visitors and is conscious that, in the future, there may be a need to evolve safety procedures in line with any regulations or recommendations put in place by the HSA (Health and Safety Authority).

“However, in the event that any such measures were to become necessary, ICOS is confident that other viewing methods could be introduced on an effective basis and without any particular disruption to mart activity.”

One such option could be the creation of walkways over stock, which would grant farmers the necessary access to animals prior to committing to placing a bid on the animals in the ring.

As some of the most-efficient marts can sell a lot of animals in under one minute, such a measure would need to be introduced to ensure that farmers where permitted sufficient time to view any potential purchases.

A reminder on calf movement regulations

With calf sales gathering speed, the Department of Agriculture has the outlined the regulations surrounding calf movements to AgriLand.

“Currently, under the Protection of Animals During Transport regulations, calves must have a completely healed navel prior to being transported.

Typically, this occurs between six and 10 days. Calves whose navel has healed, but who are less than 10 days of age can only be transported on a journey of less than 100km.

“These rules apply irrespective of destination and in the context of calf welfare are being considered as part of a review that is ongoing in consultation with stakeholders,” a department spokesperson said.