Scottish marts to donate lambs for St. Andrew’s Day

Auction marts across Scotland are donating lambs to celebrate St Andrew’s Day on Monday, November 30.

The initiative is part of a marketing drive to encourage the country to celebrate St. Andrew’s Day with lamb, in the same way that haggis is eaten on Burns Night, and turkey on Christmas Day – with the hope that it will become a regular tradition.

The campaign, “Lamb for St. Andrews Day”, is a joint effort between members of The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS); the National Farmers’ Union Scotland (NFUS); Quality Meat Scotland (QMS); and the National Sheep Association Scotland (NSAS).

“St. Andrew’s Day is a great Scottish day but is often under-celebrated,” said Christopher Sharp, group director at United Auctions, which is leading the marts in the campaign.

“We want to change that and make it into an occasion to celebrate with a great Scottish meat.

There’s not been much to celebrate the last few months, and so this is our way of coming together in our communities and giving people a chance to celebrate something, within the allowed restrictions.

“Auction marts have played a vital role in the food chain, ensuring the nation has been fed during the pandemic and we want to continue that by saying thank you to the food chain and everyone in it.”

Targeted campaigns

IAAS members will be contacting 30,000 farming customers across Scotland to help spread the word, and each mart will be running a social media campaign.

The other organisations involved will also be reaching out to communities and businesses to ensure lamb is on the menu for St. Andrew’s Day.

Sharp added:

We are delighted two local high schools have already accepted our offer to supply lamb to their food studies department, which will be invaluable in terms of widening pupils’ experiences, promoting healthy eating of local produce and also, of course, forging important partnerships between the schools and their local auction mart.

As part of the drive, QMS has developed a range of recipes with celebrity chef which will be shared over social media and around auction marts. These will be available on the IAAS website.

50 Lambs gave away in 2019

Last year, United Auctions and local farmers gave away 50 lambs to organisations, sports clubs, hotels, restaurants and schools, to promote the campaign.

Groups involved included a scouts’ club that had a lamb curry on their camp-out, and a high school whose pupils produced three lamb recipes.

Hotels and restaurants also took part with St. Andrew’s Day menus, as did rugby clubs with day-long celebrations.

“The feedback last year was very positive,” said Sharp.

We knew rugby clubs would get involved but we were really pleased to have schools, scouts and local rural organisations too.

Seven marts have already signed up to take part and donate lamb, added Neil Wilson, executive director of IAAS.

These include United Auctions, Caledonian, Aberdeen and Northern, Lawrie & Symington, Orkney Marts, Craig Wilson Ltd and C&D – but  Wilson said he hopes others will come forward too as the date approaches.

“If farmers, businesses or organisations would like to get involved, we would encourage them to contact their local livestock market,” said Wilson.