A full 122 years on from its inauguration, the traditional Mercado de Liniers cattle market, in the heart of Buenos Aires finally closed its doors on Friday ahead of its move to Cañuelas, an agro-commercial centre some 60 kilometres from the capital.
"We would all have preferred to stay here, but it is evident that the place is obsolete, if we had stayed here we would have had to update it to standards similar to those in Cañuelas," said Jorge Longobuco, manager of the firm that has managed this establishment for the last three decades.
With 7,672 animals up for sale, the last auction was held and the bells of the traditional market rang out for the last time.
In 1889, when the foundation stone was laid, this was a rural area. But with the growth of the city, its 33 hectares were placed in the middle of Mataderos, a popular neighbourhood next to the Liniers district, which has a feverish commercial life.
The market, to which a slaughterhouse used to be annexed, has marked the life of the area, where there are many meat-packing plants, butcher's shops and sausage and cold meat producers.
For more than 30 years, outside the market and around the sculpture of the Resero, which pays homage to the gaucho who herds cattle, a fair of handicrafts and local traditions has been held, which will continue to operate beyond the closing of the traditional market.
Traditionally, the Liniers market worked from Monday to Friday and auctioned up to 20,000 head of cattle in one day. But since the pandemic, its activity has been reduced to three days and some 20,000 head per week.
For several years now, there has been talk of its possible relocation. Its operation generates significant environmental problems and pollution of local streams with dung, in addition to the inconvenience caused by the traffic of heavy trucks.
After numerous postponements, the day has finally arrived. The next live cattle auction will take place in Cañuelas, where on Tuesday the Nuevo Mercado Agroganadero (MAG) will open its doors, with modern facilities on a surface area of 110 hectares and daily capacity for 12,000 head of cattle, according to its website.