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THE PRICE OF MEAT. I WHAT KEEPS IT UP? INTERVIEWS WITH REPRESENTA- TIVE FARMERS AND BUTCHERS-. _-w. SOUTH GLAMOMAN. We quote the foliotoihg from the Wextern Mail of Monday On Friday our Barry representativa interviewed a number of the leading farmers o f the Vale of Glamorgan and some of the principal butchers of the Barry district with reference to the gradual falling off in the price of agricultural stock during the past few years and the continued high price of butcher's meat. THE FARMERS. In most instances, the farme:s interviewed fully agreed with the opinions expressed by Consumer"in his letter published in the Western Mail on Wednes- day, that the price of cattle was fully 30 or 40 per cent. below the standard of 1888 and 1889, that butchers should make a corresponding reduction, as the butchers have the benefit of the reduction and enjoy a monopoly which should be done away with in justice to the public generally. At the same time, although the farmers expressed their opinions on the matter freely, and in some cases strongly, to our representative, they feel reluctant to allow their names to go forth to the public in connection with the interviews on i he ground that they are so much "under the thumb" of the butcher, and Christmas being so near (when they will have a large quantity of fat stock on offer), they might institute a sort of Boycott against them. One farmer^ who has nearly 500 acres of land in his possession, and is one of the greatest breeders of stock in South Glamorgan, and a. most success- ful exhibitor at agricultural shows all over the country, stated that, although fat cattle is fully 30 per cent. cheaper now than it was in 1888, he deprecated the suggestion that farmers should kill and sell their own stock, being of opinion that in most instances the farmers, not having a practical knowledge of the butcher's business, would be obliged to engage costly assistance, .so that what would be saved in stock would be spent in labour, and the position, so far as the farmer is concerned, would not be an advantage compared with the present. The eame gentleman quoted an instance in which a farmer from the Vale opened business on his own account at Barry, and, after a couple of years' trading, found himself obliged to abandon the business and return to farming, at the same time having lost a considerable sum upon the venture. Still, the farmer interviewed was of opinion that the trade generally, so far as butchers are concerned, should voluntarily reduce their prices when stock can be bought for so low a figure as at present. He was further of opinion that butchers and bakers had never had such good times as they have now. OPINION OF MR. EVAN DAVID, CADOXTON- BARRY. Our representative, calling upon Mr. Evan David, Vere-street, Cadoxton-Barry—a butcher of many years' extensive experience- obtained from that gentleman the following statement I con- sider it is very unfair to charge our trade with obtaining unreasonable prices from the public for the meat we supply. Our position is a very difficult one. The price of stock varies consider- ably twice a year, and this our customers, as a rule, know but little about. At the fall of the yea • there is plenty of stock in the market, and we can buy at fairly cheap rates, but the farmers do not say that between February and July they can get almost what they ask for their stock. Farmers, as a rule, at this time are husbanding stores, and will sell them during the early months of the year. This year has been an exception. The sumtrer was a dry one, and there being but little natural fodder, they sell at a sacrifice rather than keep their cattle through the winter, because of the light harvest which was experienced. Between Christmas and Midsummer butchers have to pay frequently as much as lOd. and Is. per lb. for mutton, and are obliged to supply their customers at the same time. and even less, price, so that many butchers in districts like this (where we supply only working-class families) trade at a general loss. In fact, I have lost many times £80 and £ 100 during three months, and it is only during the fall of the year when we can buy at 6 £ d. and 9d. that we have 'a chance to make this loss up. If we lowered the price to our customers when we buy cheap, and raise when the price went up, wo would have a great deal of difficulty with the public, and it would lead many a butcher to sell inferior stuff. Farmers can buy young Irish bullocks for £ 3 10s., and having kept them for a season or two on the land, they can sell them at £ 12 and C14 per head. T .3 cF land to the tenant farmer varies from 12 an acre downwards. This being so, they are able to make at least £7 and £ 8 an acre by feeding jO„k, assuming, as is generally the case, the /e ag'e that three heads of cattle may be fed on every acre." AsLed whether it would not pay the farmers to rear and sell their own beasts, Mr. David said he had no hesitation in decla-ing that the butchers had nothing to fear from this threat, because it was daily being proved that farmers, although keeping to themselves the double profit, they would hen lose considerably. Continuing his remarks, Mr. David said We have many times been obliged to rely for supply upon foreign beasts-Canadian and American-but now, after a bad summer, the country is full of home stock, and the consequence is that the public are having the benefit of home stock without a proper proportional increase in price. I have .no besitation in saying that the position of the butcher is worse now than it was five years ago. Competition is keener, and we cannot get the prices now that we could in 1888. We buy beef. as a rule, at 5Jd. and 6d. per lb., and we sell 2 at 8 £ d. and 9d., and a great deal at 4d. and even 3d. per lb. INTERVIEW WITH MR. G. H. BURNETT. Mr. G. H. Burnett, of Barry-road, Cadoxton, and High-st-eet, Barry, is the oldest butcher in the Barry district, and the opinion he expressed was mainly the same as that of Mr. David, adding that, with rent, rates, and taaes higher than they were when he commenced business, and the general conditions of trade so much more strained, it was very difficult now to make a comfortable living out of butchering. MR. J. MARSHALL. BARRY DOCK, SETS AN EXAMPLE. Mr. J. Ma-'shall, butcher, Holton-road, Barry Dock, is decidedly at variance with his brother butchers. Mr. Marshall is a young man who seems dete mined to make his mark in the line of business he has adoptc 1. Previous to going into business eighteen months ago on his own account, he was manager of an extensive branch for two or three years, and during this time had oppor- tunities of obtaining a comprehensive insight into the mysteries of buying and selling stock. Mr. Marshall, in reply to our representative's in- terrogations, said .—" The price of stock is now low-lower, really, than it Iras been during the time I have been in business—and I think when we can buy cheap (the saTLe as in the case of flour and other articles of food) the public should have a reasonable benefit of the reduction. Be- lieving this I have to-day—(and Mr. Marshall handed our representative a handbill)—issued an intimation to my customers that for the next few weeks I shall sell prime English ÐX beef for boil- ing at 2 £ d. to 4Jd. per lb. roastirg pieces, 5d. to 6J. per lb. legs, loins, ard shoulders of lamb and mutton, 4Jd. uo 6.1d. per lb. and necks and 2 2 breas.3 at 3d. to 4d. Of course, I don't say I can do this always, but so long as the prese it buying prices last I will continue to do so, in order to give my customers a fair share of the profits. I attribute the present fall in prices to the fact that farmers, after experiencing such a bad summer, prefer getting rid of their stock than keep them over the winter.



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