Auction marts open for business following latest guidance, says Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA)

19th March 2020

The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) has confirmed that auction marts are open for business, as it announces its latest guidance updates amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

The LAA is in regular dialogue with Government to ensure auction marts continue to operate in a way that is not detrimental to human health, and is monitoring the situation on an hourly basis to ensure marts do not become sites of concern for farmers.

Following a meeting with Defra and the Welsh Assembly this Tuesday (17th March), the LAA has taken a proactive approach, updating on its recommendations for conducting sales in auction marts across England and Wales. The LAA will continue to work very closely with Government to minimise risks.

It should be noted that sales can continue and that markets are “Open for Business”. However, there are actions that the Government are asking the LAA and its member companies to comply with, based on input from the LAA.

“We have released guidance to our members and are advising farmers to only stay at auction marts for as long as it takes to conduct business. We also advise that mart canteens remain closed, and suitable and plentiful hand washing facilities are made available,” explains Chris Dodds, LAA executive secretary.

“The latest public health advice should always be followed, and this is very much in line with our existing commitment to the highest standards of health, safety and biosecurity,” he adds.

As part of the new guidance, the LAA recommends restricted attendance of customers, with only those directly conducting business to enter the marts. The LAA is also recommending a review of non-essential food chain supply sales, such as fur and feather, or shrub and plant sales.

“It is important that our auction marts can support and minimise any disruption to the red-meat trade during the coronavirus outbreak,” explains Mr Dodds. “At the same time, all necessary steps are being taken to protect the health and safety of staff and customers across our auction marts.”

Latest updates and guidance can be accessed by visiting https://www.laa.co.uk/news/.