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Orange markets help fight restrictions

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 23, 2014

AUCTIONEER: David Kivell.

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UP and down the South West auctioneers are in a central position to see the worst effects of bovine TB.

And they've helped to fight for agricultural livelihoods in the face of not just the disease but the constraints on trade and cattle movements imposed by the Government.

One of the most welcomed moves was by Kivells of Holsworthy who pioneered a method of helping farmers sell, at a special market, animals from herds even when they were restricted after a positive or inconclusive TB test.

The firm spent many months mastering the paperwork and techniques that allowed farmers to bring in the restricted cattle on a designated "orange" sale day.

These efforts allow farmers to take cattle back to farm unsold if the price isn't right, using a system of isolation units within the restrictions.

Defra has sought opinions from the industry about tightening further the rules on the isolation units. But secretary of the Livestock Aucioneers Association, Chris Dodds, said on Friday the changes would not stop the orange markets.

He said: "We've had confirmation that animals not sold and going back to the farm can still go into isolation units. My biggest fear was we wouldn't be able to bring them back."

Mr Dodds said the rule would ensure the isolated cattle were tested in the same classification as the main herd and would not be treated separately.

Auctioneer David Kivell said the disease had reached catastrophic proportions in the region and farmers were desperate for more realistic action from the Government.

He said: "These restrictions will only get worse and tighter but it's teetering on the edge with them trying to put more and more restrictions.

"Farmers won't take any more until they see the problem grasped. They're fed up and it's every conversation in the canteens. If you shut off your own conversation then you'll hear TB mentioned. People are talking about it every week and at every table.

"All these existing measures are futile. You can do what you like with biosecurity and isolation units but if you must control it at the start.

"The general farmers' perspective is we've got experts around us who understand where the disease is coming from but either they're not allowed to voice their opinion or they don't get listened to."

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