PF&K quits livestock sales Symptomatic of the deep seated problems in Britain's meat supply system is the decision by one of the best known auctioneering companies to quit the livestock sales business. Rationalisation of the live auction sector has of course been under way for years, but the announcement from Penrith Farmers' & Kidd's sent shock waves through the industry. The Cumbrian firm has a national reputation, especially for lamb sales, and its flagship market next to the M6 was regarded as one of the most sophisticated in the country when built about 15 years ago. Livestock auctions are regarded by many in the major retailing and processing sectors as inherently inferior to direct farm-to-slaughterhouse marketing, with shortcomings highlighted by the FMD crisis. Ironically, PF&K prospered from valuation and administrative work for DEFRA during FMD despite the enforced temporary shutdown of its auction rings. But when md Richard Morris announced the permanent closure, he admitted "even before foot and mouth we were concerned about the viability of live marts". The company's plans mirror the industry transformation prompting the closure: PF&K will focus on deadweight procurement for its recently acquired Blackpool abattoir. Its activities include processing meat for the catering and retail sectors under the Fellbred brand. {{MEAT }}