Clearest description of beef trade conditions has come as usual from Scotland, where on Wednesday wholesalers' association president Neil Stoddart said bluntly the market had "collapsed". Closure of abattoirs and freezer-stocking by shoppers had caused temporary shortages and price rises during the first fortnight of the fmd disaster but the livestock movement licence scheme enabled abattoirs to resume production "more rapidly than anyone anticipated". The industry now had more beef than it could handle, while consumers were cutting back purchases sharply. Stoddart's remarks were intended mainly as a rebuttal following criticism of the slaughterers by some farmers who claimed traders had taken advantage of fmd, allegedly under-paying for livestock while pushing up wholesale and retail prices. {{M/E MEAT }}

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