Former NFU vice president, Paul Temple, is calling for livestock auctions to go 'livestock free' and a fierce debate has been sparked on the interactive Farmers Weekly website. Mr Temple argues that it would be more efficient if buyers and sellers met but viewed finished and store animals electroncially and is quoted to have said "Ebay is proof that unseen selling works".
The majority of contributors to the Farmers Weekly forum are of the opinion that his suggestions are ludicrous, with the old adage 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' being used.
Livestock are a key part of the farming process and few businesses buy key assets without seeing them. Added to which livestock are exactly that - 'live'! You cannot possibly assess an animal by merely viewing it electronically.
On top of the obvious flaws in Mr Temple's suggestion, he has clearly not taken into consideration the vital part the livestock market plays in the local rural farming community. Farming can be a lonely business and the livestock market is the rural hub of the industry.
At the end of the day the clue is in the name 'LIVEstock market'!