Indispensable links in the livestock and meat sector, the cattle markets see around two million animals pass through each year, mostly cattle and sheep.
Inter-professional places of exchange, they make it possible to determine the prices of live cattle on the national market.
But these animal gatherings must be managed with great care. These are indeed new situations where unusual conditions could disturb the animals. It is therefore necessary to pay particular attention to their well-being.
On the farm, already, the breeder sets up in advance, in a separate room, the animals that will be brought to the market, to avoid any confusion and unnecessary stress during loading.
Once at the market, unloading the truck is facilitated by a non-slip ramp, with a moderate slope and equipped on the sides with vertical walls that guide the animals. They must not be attacked by the environment, that is to say noise, light, the movements of people working in the market.
Then there are methods specific to different animals:
Sheep have a herd instinct, you have to leave them in groups and use this natural instinct to facilitate their movement.
Handling large cattle can sometimes be dangerous. The operators then use a stick to approach, reassure, guide or stop the animals. Indeed, if operators feel safe in their work, they more easily ensure the well-being of the animals they have to take care of.
Particular attention is also paid to young calves, which are relatively clumsy.
Finally, these markets are now approved by the veterinary services and very precise regulations govern their operation. These regulations are always evolving in the direction of better protection of animals, in particular on the initiative of animal rights associations such as the OABA, the Work of Assistance to the Beasts of Slaughterhouses.