US consumers of luxury leather products such as apparel and handbags are beginning to pay the price for the foot-and-mouth disease that is ravaging Europe and in particular Britain. A sudden drop in beef consumption because of concerns about mad cow disease means far fewer animals are being slaughtered for meat. This, among other factors, has contributed to driving the price of steer hides up about 12 per cent in the last six weeks, according to, an online market report.