Christmas fatstock shows and sales are the highlight of the year for many producers who select their best quality prime sheep and cattle for such events, but they are seriously in danger of making history, if more of the prize winners are not sold to be butchered.

Calling on all event organisers to make it compulsory for all prize winning animals to be sold for slaughter at such events, leading Yorkshire butcher, Anthony Kitson, said the whole point of a fatstock show is that the general public can see show winners in the ring and are then able to consume the best quality meat from such animals.

"Consumers want to see beef and lamb from the best quality animals in butchers shops at this time of year for Christmas and if we can't give them that, they'll move onto another product and they won't be back," he told The Scottish Farmer.

"I have been at 12 fatstock/Christmas sales over the past month and 25% of the animals I would have bought, were not sold for slaughter, either because they were going back home as a breeding females, or they were purchased by a fellow farmer for breeding.

"This creates a two-tier system and makes a mockery out of the fat trade," he warned. "If producers are allowed to carry on this way, they'll not get the deadweight buyers or the butchers buying, as they look to buy the best at this time of year, which in turn will just kill the fatstock shows.

"We have to let the general public taste the best of British produce, because if we don't,we'll lose them," added Mr Kitson.

"I want to present the best beef and lamb available in my butchers shops at this time of year, and if I'm unable to do that, people will buy something else."

Such has been the increased demand for beef at this time of year, that the deadweight trade improved for the fourth consecutive week for prime beef and heifers.

Latest figures for the week ending December 2 show the overall steer average in Scotland rose by 1.9p to level at 386.6p, with those hitting the R4L spec getting near the 390p mark at 388.1p.

This compares to the all steer average south of the Border which balanced out at 360.9p, up 0.8p, with R4L carcases at 376.4p.

Heifers in Scotland improved by half a penny to 386.1p, with those hitting the spec levelling at 388.1p, against 361.9p, a rise of 0.2p and R4L heifers at 375.7p, respectively, in England and Wales.