There is a belief, held by many in the meat industry, in catering, and by consumers alike, that meat from leaner carcasses is inferior in eating quality to that from fatter ones. In addition, meat from leaner continental breeds has been suggested by some to be inferior to that from the more traditional British beef breeds which fatten more readily at lighter weights, and meat from bulls has been similarly implicated. This may be an extrapolation of the belief in the role of fat, or it may be a separate issue concerned with other underlying genetic or physiological differences. Other factors known to influence meat quality are pre-slaughter handling and post-mortem chilling rates and conditioning. Rapid chilling of beef carcasses has economic advantages through a faster turnover and lower evaporative losses, but may impair eating quality by inducing muscle cold-shortening. Chill rate may be influenced by carcass type, in particular by the amount of fat present and by the thickness of the tissues. It is possible that the role of fatness (and conformation) in eating quality of meat may be manifested indirectly through its effect on rate of cooling.