A number of abattoirs in Scotland are back in business after restrictions imposed in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak were relaxed.
Abattoirs are allowed to take animals for slaughter again
By midday, about 20 slaughterhouses had been given the go-ahead to receive animals that had been transported to them directly from farms.
A strict ban on the movement of animals was imposed after the disease was found at a farm in Surrey last Friday.
Movement in Scotland is now allowed under strictly controlled conditions.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said he was delighted some abattoirs were open for business again.
He said: "As soon as the ban on livestock movements was imposed last Friday, the Scottish government began to plan an exit strategy informed by veterinary risk analysis.
"I am delighted that, within a few days, a vital part of our meat industry is now back to work to ensure that meat supplies can continue to make their way to supermarket shelves and local butchers.
"Of course, animals can only leave farms direct to abattoirs and only under strict licensing conditions, with the wider livestock movement ban remaining in place."
Scotland's chief veterinary officer Charles Milne explained that the decision to ease the restrictions had been taken on the basis of a veterinary risk assessment.
He said: "The industry has been very constructive and responsible in its approach over the last week.
"This co-operation will help us to lift further restrictions when the time is right."
At the McIntosh Donald abattoir in Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, managing director Alan McNaughton told BBC Scotland: "On Friday there was dismay that we had another outbreak of foot-and-mouth.
"To be up and running again is a great relief. If this continues then the impact on supplies will be limited."