FUW highlights need to abide by coronavirus rules in marts - or risk lives and market closures

The Farmers' Union of Wales is warning the agriculture industry to abide by coronavirus rules in livestock markets - or risk outbreaks in the farming community and market closures.

FUW Livestock, Wool and Marts Committee Chairman Morgan Jones-Parry said: "Markets play a key role in our supply chains. They are an essential outlet for our finished and store animals, and also play a central role in terms of buying and selling breeding animals."

Mr Jones-Parry said that while the overwhelming majority attending markets were abiding by coronavirus rules, a minority were slipping into old habits in terms of contact with others.

"When you've been attending markets for decades, it's easy to slip into old habits and forget we are still in the grips of a dangerous pandemic - especially in many of our rural communities which have been relatively untouched by the pandemic. We need to keep it that way, and shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security - and we mustn't forget that many farming families have lost loved ones to the virus," said Mr Jones-Parry.

Mr Jones- Parry said a single case in a market represented a major risk if people did not abide by the rules.

Writing recently in the Irish Independent, GP Dr Derek Casey described at-risk farmers attending markets where individuals fail to abide by coronavirus rules as 'sitting ducks' to the disease.

Mr Jones-Parry said: "Failure to abide by the rules also risks seeing the authorities closing markets down at a critical trading time for the farming industry. This cannot be allowed to happen and for the sake of our industry and the welfare of those who work in it I would urge everyone to act responsibly and abide by the rules."