In the various EU livestock and meat marketing channels, the livestock markets undoubtedly constitute a fundamental link. Indeed, any breeder wants to sell his product under the best possible conditions, and the live-stock market plays here an important role:
- by its very nature since it is a selling place where sellers and buyers meet in order to negotiate;
- by its function which is to group in a given place and at a given time an appreciable number of sellers and buyers and to enable them to deal under practical conditions.
The breeder can convey his animals to the market, while being sure to get offers, which he is free to accept or to refuse. The buyer, whoever he is (fattener, trader, slaughterer, meat wholesaler, meat processor), can buy the animals wished for very quickly without having to travel all over the open country since the market makes it possible to group a production very often dispersed.
This nature and this function give the livestock markets an economic role of primary necessity in a market economy such as it exists in the EU. Indeed:
- they contribute to the formulation of prices, which result from the free confrontation between offer and demand; consequently they are not only a barometer showing the trends on the livestock and meat markets, but also a reference for all operators of the livestock and meat sector;
- they are a reliable outlet for production, more especially as handling, sorting and forwarding centres on which fat livestock is sold for export or for slaughtering, and unfattened livestock is sold either for export or for fattening;
- showing the trends on the market they enable the breeders to determine the opportune time for selling their animals; consequently they contribute to insure the balance between offer and demand smoothly.