Live lamb prices bounced early in the week as producers and some traders talked of positive demand influences emerging from the French BSE affair. But from export dependent slaughterers came predictions the sheep market would soon follow the beef cattle downtrend. French lamb prices have certainly strengthened as beef consumption has fallen, but a little noticed technical glitch will prevent British exporters exploiting the opportunity fully. Paris has apparently ended a two-year-old concession which allowed British sheep carcases to be shipped without first being split and the spine removed as an anti-BSE measure. Splitting them here is seen as likely to make some of the already difficult sheepmeat export trade unviable, to the indirect benefit of domestic buyers. {{MEAT }}