Sir; The overcapacity red herring raised by your story ( Narrow margins point to industry overcapacity,', The Grocer, July 1, Meat, p16), cannot be allowed to undermine the essential point of the Maclean MHS Charges report, which is that up to 50% of red meat slaughterings take place in medium range abattoirs. And that if this sector is put under even more MHS cost pressure the core will be ripped out of the flexible, fragmented and sophisticated processing structure that ensures ­ regardless of their location, taste or income ­ that each and every one of Great Britain's 50 million consumers has access to fresh red meat or a red meat product. Our beef sector research indicates that just 21 super-large abattoirs killing in excess of 100 cattle a day, handle 49% of cattle slaughterings, some 150 low throughput abattoirs process only around 1%, and that the balance falls in the hands of the hugely overlooked medium range sector that has been identified by the Maclean report. Furthermore, we are persuaded that the bulk of abattoir overcapacity lies at the lower end of the super-large section and not across the middle range. Evidence for this lies in the fact that up to March 1996 the biggest slaughterers balanced supermarket service with export work. Since then, however, they have been forced to concentrate their sales on the supermarkets at the same time as the supermarkets have been narrowing down their dedicated beef suppliers. In these circumstances, it is impossible to avoid concluding that in general terms the biggest of the super-large plants are operating closest to capacity while those at the lower end are struggling to maintain sensible throughput levels. And so the easiest way to reduce overall overcapacity would be to shut down half a dozen super-large plants and leave other, smaller abattoirs to continue servicing the vast range of consumption that lies outside the supermarket sector. Robert Forster National Beef Association {{LETTERS }}