Business: Meat Bites Back

With prices up, cattlemen may begin to replenish their herds

In a fit of lunar lunacy, the cow that jumped over the moon has gone into orbit. During this year's first three months, average prices for beef cuts are up 9%, to $2.23 per lb., and are expected to climb a further 25% by year's end. Because high prices at meat counters are such an immediate indicator of inflation's bite, consumers are clamoring for Washington to do something to bring them down.

Yet Agriculture Department officials argue persuasively that methods that have been used before -price controls, consumer boycotts and increased import quotas-would...

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