An independent survey is to be carried out at 24 livestock markets across the UK to evaluate animal welfare provisions.

The opening of the first purpose-built livestock market in the UK was opened in Hawick, Scotland 200 years ago this year.

To mark this bicentenary, the Livestock Auctioneers’ Association (LAA) asked the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) are to carry out an independent survey of a representative sample of 24 livestock markets across England and Wales to evaluate the animal welfare provisions currently in place.

This includes an assessment of resources available to the animals in terms of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and management practices, such as implementation of a specific animal welfare policy.

Charles Mason, the HSA’s Technical Director, who will be visiting markets to conduct the survey, said: “The information from this survey will be used to promote good practice and so help to improve the welfare of animals passing through livestock markets in years to come.”

To date, ten markets have been visited and the aim is to complete the survey visits by April 2018.

The HSA, since its foundation 100 years ago, has overseen improvements made to livestock markets throughout the years. These include the creation of ramps and gangways to stop the practice of lifting animals by their ears and tails during loading.

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