Abattoirs could improve meat quality and cut costs by cleaning animals after they've been slaughtered, not before.

US cattle expert Temple Grandin claimed the UK habit of washing and clipping dirty animals live was "terrible practice".

The stress of being cleaned by high-pressure hoses and sheared increases the amount of unusable dark meat, a problem estimated to cost the UK industry £9m per year.

Jonathan Birnie, group agricultural research manager for Dunbia, said: "The change must happen here. It is better for farmers and it is better for animals."