The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) has updated its advice to auction marts following consultation with the Scottish Government, in efforts to support firms to continue trading responsibly throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. IAAS has also confirmed that some classes of breeding sales will recommence under the latest guidelines, with the exception of bull sales which are still not permitted.
IAAS, the representative body for livestock markets, valuers and auctioneers across Scotland, is committed to playing its part in supplying the food chain within strict guidelines which will help reduce the spread and infection rate of COVID-19 and help to manage vital NHS resources.
IAAS Executive Director Neil Wilson said: “We have been working closely with the Scottish Government to find a workable solution to limit exposure to COVID-19 through marts whilst ensuring the livestock trade continues in a measurable and safe manner.
“Marts form a vital link in the wider food chain ensuring livestock from around the country can be fairly and transparently traded between farmers as well as onward to abattoirs enabling a consistent supply of high-quality primary products into the food chain.
“Whilst this is a human health and not an animal health issue, IAAS members can draw on experience from the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and the scare in 2007 relating this to the potential issues we may see in the future.”
While people should check specific access and sale arrangements direct with individual auction companies, IAAS, which has been supporting marts with ensuring they have the latest public health advice, has shared updated recommendations for its members to follow.
COVID-19: Rules for marts
- Anyone who has been in contact with a COVID-19 case or has been in a high-risk area must not attend sales.
- Anyone over the age of 70 must not attend sales.
- Anyone displaying any illness or symptoms of any illness or has any underlying health problem must not attend.
- Pregnant ladies and children must not attend sales.
- General public, trade and others not directly involved in sales must not to attend.
Farmers delivering livestock to auction marts
- Deliveries made to marts as normal via livestock trailers/hauliers.
- Hauliers/farmers to unload livestock into pens beside loading bay.
- Mart staff collect required paperwork from driver across biosecurity line or via email (preferable) ensuring maximum social distance is maintained.
- Farmer/haulier to leave premises.
- Mart staff to collect livestock from the loading bay pens and pen up in the mart.
- Vendors MUST NOT take paperwork to mart offices or enter the mart at any time or for any reason.
- It is recommended that hand washing/sanitising facilities are available at loading bays.
- A MINIMUM DISTANCE OF 2 METRES MUST BE MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES. Consider closing every second bay to aid the management of this.
- Vendors should be reminded they must cleanse and disinfect their vehicles before transporting any other animals and in any case within 24 hours of the journey.
- Sellers are also reminded that animals should only be presented to markets that have been tested in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements and industry schemes.
Buyers coming to auction marts to purchase livestock
- Any buyer must pre-register their attendance at any sale. Only buyers known to marts should be permitted access to any class of sale.
- The number of buyers MUST be restricted to ensure social distancing (min 2 metres between each buyer) is always maintained.
- The number of buyers a sale can accept will depend upon the size and layout of sale rings. Areas should be clearly marked to show the spacing required around the ring.
- Buyers must declare that they have not been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case nor have visited a high-risk area during the previous 14 days.
- Buyers to sign in and out of auction mart premises. Mart MUST keep a register of those who attended their sales. This includes name, address and telephone number.
- Where possible buyers should be asked to ‘double up’ or provide orders to reduce numbers of buyers attending sales.
- At the conclusion of the sale buyers MUST be asked to enter the sales office in a way that maintains social distancing and absolutely ensures the 2m rule is observed.
- Suitable bio-security measures must be in place and available – hand washing facilities/hand sanitisers/foot dips etc. Buyers MUST use these on entry and exit.
- No additional visitors will be admitted to the mart on sale days outside of key staff and registered buyers.
Removal of stock post auction
- Hauliers/farmers arrive at mart in normal manner; however, they are to remain in vehicles until loading bay space becomes available.
- Reverse to loading bays and, from a safe distance of at least 2 metres, inform the mart staff of consignment to collect. Marts should consider closing every second bay to aid the management of social distancing.
- Mart staff to deliver livestock to pens beside loading bays and haulier/farmer should complete the loading of the lorry/trailer.
- Mart staff to share paperwork with driver as required across the biosecurity line ensuring a safe distance maintained. Mart staff to maintain maximum social distance possible from vehicle driver and ensure it is always a minimum of 2 metres.
- Haulier/farmer leaves the site.
- Complete closure of cafes including for take away food.
- All potential gathering points should be closed off.
- Each market to ensure that all staff in all parts of the market maintain a social distance of 2m at all times. This includes the penning area, office and box.
- It is recommended that a comprehensive action plan in this regard is in place and available to discuss with Local Authority staff.
- The sale of prime stock, cull animals and store stock are still permitted.
- The sale of particular categories of breeding stock through the live ring only (no penned sales) can recommence.
- This category of sale includes, but is not limited to, dairy animals, breeding cattle, cows with calf at foot, breeding sheep, ewes with lambs at foot, breeding pigs etc.
- Sales that would normally create large gatherings and require sellers to be in attendance, such as bull sales, are not permitted to be held in the live ring under this review. Shows and sales are not permitted.
- Members should consider restructuring sales or holding sales of different categories of stock on different days to ensure compliance with social distancing in all areas of the mart and at all times.
- It is recommended that all other sales are cancelled with immediate effect.
- Marts MUST be thoroughly cleaned down after every sale.
- Haulage drivers may be permitted access to toilets within the market if no facilities are available outside. Access should only be granted when it is safe to do so and social distancing of 2m can be maintained at all times. Drivers must leave the market concourse immediately after using facilities and should not congregate. Strict hygiene routines must be followed as well as a record of entry/exit.
- Operators should review contingency plans on an ongoing basis and at all times follow HPS’s COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings.