Poll: How long should ‘viewing times’ last at livestock marts?

In recent weeks, a number of livestock marts across the country have introduced more stringent measures to improve health and safety conditions.

Many marts decided to restrict the access farmers could have to areas where cattle were being moved on a regular basis.

In a lot of cases, only mart staff are now permitted in the yard while sales are in progress.

In an effort to allow farmers view livestock prior to the sale, some marts have brought in ‘viewing times’. Under this measure, livestock must be penned by a chosen time and then farmers would be allocated a certain time frame to view the animals.

Once the ‘viewing time’ comes to an end, farmers are not allowed to walk around the yard where livestock are being held.

As one of the first marts to introduce more stringent safety measures, Headford Mart in Co. Galway decided upon a ‘viewing time’ lasting 15 minutes at a recent cattle sale.

Similarly, Balla Mart in Co. Mayo – which is part of Aurivo’s chain of marts – will operate a ‘viewing time’ of 15 minutes in future sales. During this time, the mart’s chutes and holding areas will be in “lock-down”.

Meanwhile, Roscommon Mart has decided to opt for a period of 30 minutes to allow prospective buyers the opportunity to view livestock prior to the sale.

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Another measure being considered by marts is the introduction of overhead walkways.

The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has welcomed the new safety measures being introduced by marts as a step in the right direction. Limited mart yard access is “the new reality“, ICOS’s livestock services executive, Ray Doyle, previously told AgriLand.

Mart operators are doing it for the best reasons; health and safety. We have to limit the access of people to areas where cattle are being moved around.

“Farmers can’t simply walk down passageways like they have for the past 20 years; rules on building sites have changed over that time – this is the new reality for livestock marts now,” he said.