asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food why he took off the special grade for cattle seeing that beasts in that category are at their best, and to keep them longer means a waste of valuable food; whether he is aware that special grade cattle are the cheapest he can purchase as he always gets full weight; and as prime cattle, owing to there being now no special grade, are being withheld from the markets, will he revert to the previous position?
The special grade of fat cattle was withdrawn at the end of August because the killing out percentages of cattle are generally lower in the autumn than at other times of the year. Special grade cattle are not cheaper than other grades per lb. dressed carcase weight unless they kill out above the minimum percentages of the grade. I have no reason to think that well-finished cattle are being withheld from sale because the special grade is not operative at present. The published price schedule for fat cattle provides for the re-instatement of the special grade at the beginning of January, 1944, which is two months earlier than in the previous two years.