Guardian Pushes Covid-19 Food Supply Fear, Demands “Sustainable” Decentralised Meat Processing

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to The Guardian, large meat processing plants have focussed too much on keeping costs down. But they disregard the consequences of not keeping costs down.

Meat-free future? Coronavirus exposes America’s fragile food system

Supply chain problems and workplace infection risks mean experts are urging US producers to focus on sustainability

But for some critical observers, the crisis in America’s huge industrial meat production sector came as no real surprise. Will Harris, a cattleman at White Oak Pastures in southern Georgia, said he always knew a “trainwreck” would hit the factory farming industry.

“For the past 70 years, big multinational corporations have moved our food system further and further down the road of focusing only on efficiency, only on taking costs out of production,” Harris said. “And in doing that they created a very fragile food system where a lot of things can go wrong.”

But Harris said there is an alternative: his style of farming.

A lobby which represents cattle farmers and ranchers, R-Calf USA, wrote to the White House urging it to consider restructuring the beef industry so there are more plants owned by more people. “This high level of physical and geographical concentration of America’s vital beef supply chain is intuitively and inherently contrary to America’s food security interests, as now unequivocally demonstrated by Covid-19,” the letter said.

“This is an opportunity for meat-eaters to join together with sustainable producers of meat, and with meat and dairy industry workers, to all unite together and say we want a better system,” said Nina Ichikawa, executive director for the Berkeley Food Institute, which seeks to expand access to healthy, affordable food.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/10/coronavirus-america-meat-food-system-farming

In my opinion this is a disguised attempt to make meat less affordable, under the guise of making the food chain more sustainable and resilient, by attempting to use Covid-19 as an excuse to insert green policy objectives into US food processing regulations.

If a large meat packing plant closes temporarily because of Covid, obviously this is bad news for the workers, but in terms of food supply a temporary closure is a blip. A temporary closure or two is certainly not an excuse for a permanent shut down of all big meat processing plants.

There is room in the market for premium meat like Harris Farm. I buy expensive gourmet meat because I like the flavour. But I also remember a time when I couldn’t afford expensive meat, when my only option to feed my family was to buy the cheapest factory processed meat I could find.

Reforming the industry to eliminate cheap factory produced meat would be a disastrous attack on the protein intake of poor people. Guardian authors might be able to afford gourmet meat, or expensive vegan alternatives to meat protein, but the poorest people would simply go hungry.

90 thoughts on “Guardian Pushes Covid-19 Food Supply Fear, Demands “Sustainable” Decentralised Meat Processing

  1. The Manchester Fish and Chip Wrapper also known as the Grauniad loves to take up causes that will advance totalitarianism and damage the lives of ordinary people in the interests of the Elite.

    • Who reads (and actually believes) the Grauniad, anyway? It’s a far-left propaganda rag, supported by crowdfunding, preaching to its converted coven of The Woke. Pity the fish wrapped in it . . .

      Many people like me have already long ago taken the step to “join together with sustainable producers of meat,” not for phony AGW reasons, but for quality. Yes, one pays quite a bit more for an animal that lived outside, eating its natural diet, with fresh air, green grass, sunshine and free movement. Locally-sourced, grass-fed, and slaughtered locally at a small place where 30 head is a big day. Where do you think fewer things go wrong, including animal handling failure and worker injuries and illnesses? A plant processing 30 head a day or a plant processing 1,300 per hour?

      Most of us reading here can definitely afford to feed ourselves better. Start with that and let “the world” take care of itself via the marketplace. There’s really not much relationship between prices in Albany, NY and prices in Mogadishu or Caracas anyway.

  2. Not sure I understand the problem. Too many workers sick with COV? Health Regulations? What??

      • Not really. there are around 4,000 meat processing plants and only a few have had staff shortages. Many are due to people refusing to work out of the overhyped fear. The main problem was the media reporting that there was going to be a shortage so a lot of people immediately went out and bought several hundred dollars worth of meat and now it’s time to reprint the meat shortage story.

        • More proof that the Wuhan virus was a communist media driven panic. It’s time to reopen everything and in the states that governors refuse to do so people need to ignore the state.

          • So the 23,000 excess deaths, March 15 – May 2, in New York City & the 5,500 excess deaths March 15th to April 11th in New Jersey, are just a communist media driven panic?

    • The problem of having the workforce centralized…a-la “Putting all your eggs in one basket”
      When all your workforce is concentrated in one place, a single problem brings operations to a screaming halt

      • spot on, as well as the utterly insane system that is used in usa breeding one place ship to another and another then to slaugter all set by a DAY that etc will occur
        so when the plants shut the suppliers expecting to ship out couldnt, but they had incoming next batch within a day or so allowed to clean cages pens etc for the new ones
        halting moves and an AI forced cycle would be too easy but not for the system as they run it
        so now/
        theyre cullling n burying thousands of animals
        utter waste because feeding them for a week or so longer upsets some mongrel acountants planned operations for maximum profit!!
        how culling n burying is cheaper than a feed bill beggars belief
        your system SUCKS
        the small setups need to get back and running and growing and the big guys needs to be controlled
        Smithfield one of your bigger pork producers etc
        is Chinese owned
        hows that help the american grower who gives a damn?
        as for your belief that “it might cost more” well 50c a pound or so wont have anyone starving but WILL keep american money at home AND help stop the utter barbarity of factory farms.
        my local areasbutcher buys local animals has his own small abbatoir, our meats fresh excellent and cheaper thean stupormarket big buyers and handled by OS names like TEYS or Tyson etc.

        • ozspeaksup – May 11, 2020 at 3:12 am

          the small setups need to get back and running and growing and the big guys needs to be controlled

          Oz, am I to assume that you think the same about the “big guys” vehicle manufacturers?

          Make them put a small auto manufacturing plant in every little town, …… right?

        • Oz, come on man, you comment on this site a lot. Can’t you please learn how to punctuate and capitalize? You make me, the reader, go through mental gymnastics just trying to understand what you mean and that is the REASON for punctuation. You are lazy, admit it.

  3. The fact articles like this exist is more proof that no one really considers Wuhan Flu to be a serious threat.

    If they honestly believed we could have dead in the streets the moment any restrictions were lifted then there would be no ‘future’ conversations because the ‘future’ would be so uncertain.

    Wuhan Flu, I put to you, stopped being a threat to human lives over a month ago when it mutated into a political tool.

    • It was precisely when it became a political tool that the threat to the lives of the general population expanded considerably.

      • Looks to me like AOC got her Green New Deal through other means:

        (1) No cars on the road.
        (2) No planes in the sky.
        (3) Factories, businesses, offices all closed.
        (4) It’s hard to find meat.
        (5) Oil being left in the ground.

        One is an occurrence. Two is a coincidence. Three is enemy action. What the heck is 5 out of 5?

        At this point I wouldn’t even put it past ’em to purposely infect the Secret Service agents to pass the virus onto Trump and Pence! That one was already old in the days of Carthage . . .

    • Craig from Oz – May 10, 2020 at 6:32 pm

      Wuhan Flu, I put to you, stopped being a threat to human lives over a month ago when it mutated into a political tool.

      Craig, I hafta disagree with you.

      My opinion, ….. Wuhan Flu became a threat to human lives over 3 month ago when it mutated into a political tool.

  4. The lefties everywhere will be seizing the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ for the usual-
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-albanese-calls-for-economic-overhaul-20200510-p54rl1.html

    Well he has a point when you print lots of IOUs and splash them around-
    “This pandemic has shown that Labor’s values of fairness and security and our belief in the power of government to shape change to the advantage of working people are the right ones.”

    So with all the stimulus/handouts and Treasury looking like Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard we can’t wait to get our hands on your compulsory Super funds for all our empire building and good works naturally-
    “Governments should be working with the private sector and superannuation funds to deliver significant investment in social and affordable housing.”

    …and don’t forget we’re into renewables too folks-
    “We must revitalise high-value Australian manufacturing using our clean energy resources,”
    Stay tuned folks as we’ll be fleshing out the vision splendid for you all now you’ve had a taste of all that largesse from those who should know better.

    • “We must revitalise high-value Australian manufacturing using our clean energy resources,””

      LOL.. high value manufacturing need RELIABLE CHEAP electricity.

      Renewables and other “clean” (lol) energy sources, NEED NOT APPLY !

    • “This pandemic has shown that Labor’s values of fairness and security and our belief in the power of government to shape change to the advantage of working people are the right ones.”

      Actually, this pandemic has shown the utter uselessness of all politicians, governments, bureaucrats, etc. when it come to doing anything quickly and effectively other than tell other people what they can and can’t do. The EU is a shining example.

  5. Unfortunately the obsession with cheap everything has squeezed out local producers. “Factory farming” or whatever, costs are so low it’s impossible to compete. As a local fish supplier I know. It’s cheaper for me to ship fish to China than fish to Canada. The margins are unsustainable. The health regulations squeeze small producers out of the market and the red tape is ridiculous. Perhaps we wouldn’t need cheap meat if we had good jobs. Unfortunately all the money goes to the white collars in the middle. Economies of scale are more efficient but markets have lost the ability to reflect scarcity. It’s all about who can hire the lowest cost workers and the most expensive accountants. Meat costs money. Gas costs money. It’s hard work and prices don’t reflect that. Not to mention I spend as much time filling out paperwork as I do actually acquiring an selling fish. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of this movement will probably be to outsource more production to China and not bring greater awareness of the food chain.

    • All the money goes to the white collars in the middle? The highest paid group of people besides entrepreneurs is government employees…

      • The highest paid group of people besides entrepreneurs is government employees…

        Right you are, ….. and the travesty of it is that 98% of those employees produce/generate nothing of value.

        • Aye Samuel—the very definition of nonessential work, yet I don’t believe a one of them at any level were furloughed without pay.

          • And still accruing their “sick” and “vacation days”.

            Absolutely non-essential work, …. which is a proven fact when they “shut-the-government-down” for whatever reason, for a week or a month, everyone stays home, still gets paid, nothing gets done at the office ……… but no one notices it except the janitors when they come back to work.

    • yes and the reason the big corps do it cheaper is lenient regs for them and damn near impossible compliance regs fees an charges for the small guy
      all lobbied for and favours done and donations accepted BY your elected criminals.
      to have to license and pay inspections for a home made kitchen cake for a kids schoolfundraiser or hurch bake sale..people stopped doing it in spite of no harm proven by the hundreds of yrs old mothers n PTA run events
      now they are forced to buy commercial crap food/cakes and try n make a few cents per item instead of dollars.
      so the local community gets done over every which way!
      less community come together to cok n share
      lousy low food value tasteless muck in a packet
      less funds to do anything with
      eventually it all just stops entirely.

      • The Regs and red tape aren’t more lenient for the big guys. Just that they have admin economies of scale with it and a barrier to entry as you note. Get big or get out and stay out and the watermelons who believe in Big Gummint haven’t got a clue about that and so much for all their food miles and acting locally for the little guy.

        That’s part of the message Michael Moore is telling them with their unreliables. Gummint should do no harm bozos and now you’re all in bed with multinational subsidy miners because that’s where all the action is and they have the resources and wherewithal to navigate it. You can’t even deal with your local sparky for supply and fix solar panels on your roof because the big guys handle the RECs and he’s not in the race if he can’t offer the net price.

        • The big guys lobby for the regulations, as that means they can squeeze the small guys out, as the cost of compliance is too large for them.
          The public clamour for cheap food, which is why they get their meat, stuffed full of hormones & antibiotics.

  6. From the article:
    “In 1967, there were 10,000 state and federal inspected slaughter facilities across the country. Today, there are 2,700.”
    and what is clear is that a system optimised for profit has no resilience built into it in the
    form of spare capacity. Having multiple smaller abattoir would mean that if one or two shut down then there would be enough capacity to still feed everyone. Smaller abattoirs also mean that animals don’t have to travel as far so it is better for their welfare. They also employ more people and operate in a safer manner.

    Since the 1960’s large scale commercial interests have taken control of the US food system which has provided cheap meat to millions but it has it’s downsides (just ask anybody trying to make a living farming chickens). This is one of them.

  7. The path to recovery and self sufficency in essential products is cheap reliable electricity and gas. The only source of cheap reliable electricity is COAL fired power stations. Do as China is doing build lots of COAL fired power stations.

  8. They want to put most of the ranchers out of business and make meat to expensive except for the rich. What we need to put out of business are the eco terrorists.

  9. “This is an opportunity for meat-eaters to join together with sustainable producers of meat, and with meat and dairy industry workers, to all unite together and say we want a better system,” said Nina Ichikawa, executive director for the Berkeley Food Institute, which seeks to expand access to healthy, affordable food.”

    Those who see a business opportunity in the smaller, healthier, organic-er meat business should take advantage of that opportunity and invest instead of whining. Look at what happened in the computer industry a few years ago when the Intel-8080 and TI-9900 came out and operating systems quickly hit the market. Those who thought of those microcomputers as toys laughed while the microcomputer nuts invested.

  10. Recall the cartoon from a few years ago:

    Two analysts sitting in office at USDA. One is crying.
    The other asks, “What happened?”
    The first responds, “My farmer died.”

  11. The only vegan alternative to meat is a hand full of pills every day, and still not the same thing.

    • Hi Robert, I’m a vegan. Not religiously, I’m not worried about eating meat or fish. But I choose to be vegan, just because I like the food flavours, fitness and health benefits, and I’m rubbish at working out a mixed diet, so I stick to one simple thing – plant based. I eat things like chickpeas, rice, potatoes, fruit, beans, sourdough, peanuts, broccoli, spinach, cereals, olive oil, and I don’t take any pills at all. This has worked for me for over 6 months, and I have no ill effects – rather the opposite – my fitness has improved and so have any indicators of health I’ve bothered looking at (weight, heartrate, etc.)

      So I’m here to tell you that your opinion is wrong, and you can live exceptionally healthy and happy without meat and without pills, but I’m not trying to stop you eating meat if you like it.

    • Seems to me that Massie’s bill is for the little guy. Not sure what the state laws are here in TX, but I can think of at least 6 custom processing plants within a 50-60 mile radius of my place. The one I take my animals to is only 15 miles away, and it stays busy enough that I need to make an appointment when I want to take one in. Mostly the processed product is marked “NFS” but not always, and actually, any number of people can share the cost and the meat. On Craigs list, there are always ranchers selling their processed meat in anything from split halves to 1 lb packages of ground beef.–same at farmers markets.
      Also, many of the little town groceries–mom and pop stores—cut and wrap their own meat from halves /quarters. Nice and fresh, and less expensive that that at the big box stores.
      Newest thing are mobile abattoirs, that will come out to the ranch and do it all from kill to wrapped and flashed frozen. Only downside I can see in that is the meat won’t be “hung” for a few days, which is something the small (and bigger?) in house processors do.

  12. Whoever wrote that article either doesn’t know or doesn’t care how the meatpacking industry works. Yes, economies of scale do play a part, but this concentration into large regional plants is due much more to huge rafts of federal regulations that lay pointless burdens on meat processors and many of which were written with the “help” of larger companies that, in practice, was aimed at crushing smaller competitors under an avalanche of red tape.

    It’s the same idiocy that was applied in Britain under the banner of “health” and ended up introducing Mad Cow disease into the country.

    Worse, these regulations also encouraged the use of cheap, semi-skilled immigration and illegal labour that discouraged better plant design and the introduction of advanced automation techniques that would be cheaper in the long run as well as more safe and sanitary.

    • Yes, that’s the way it works in the EU.
      The big boys lobby the Commission, who introduce legislation, that suits the big boys and destroys the little guys in the name of ‘harmonisation’.
      Whether it’s vets in slaughterhouses or vacuum cleaners that use less than 1600 W., it’s all for the EU corporate super-state.
      Thank goodness we in the UK are escaping .

  13. So I guess a supply crunch caused by COVID-19 is being hijacked to provide an excuse to mess with the “system.” What does that remind me of? Oh yeah, renewables, windmills and photovoltaics. “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

    • Apples and oranges.
      Someone can cut there power off at the grid and run off of whatever contraption they deem fit.
      But a farmer can’t sell his cow to a restaurant down the street without permits, paperwork, and at least 10 people at different levels of government telling him what to do, and tacking on fees along the way. It’s not efficient. It’s bullshit.

  14. I grew up with small and local – we only ate what was in season. The primary worry of the local people was the next harvest and the share to the landowner. Being near a major railroad provided buffer in that major failures resulted in import of wheat and rice. Those several hundred miles away on seasonal dirt roads could expect to starve. Food security is transportation since harvest failure is usually regional.

    I do not buy ‘Organic’ because I believe it is an affectation of secure well off lefties. Surrounded by them are the small producers that cannot make ends meet without the premium for ‘Organic’.

    Is there a morality in food production that demands that the golden halo of the family farm be maintained, along with the advantage of having more kids to provide labour and old age security? I did not think the the butcher who kills behind the shop very pretty, it it was certainly unsanitary. Most of the world wants to get away from this, except for urbanised lefties.

    • FranBC May 10, 2020 at 7:53 pm
      I do not buy ‘Organic’ because I believe it is an affectation of secure well off lefties.

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Every now and then I find some “Organic” product priced lower than the house brand, and I still won’t buy it. That aside, in my opinion the “Organic” movement is a way to sell blemished produce at a higher price than the picture perfect stuff. I’m convinced that the “Organic” label will ultimately carry as much prestige as “The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” and “Advertized in LIFE Magazine.” When was the last time you saw one of those?

  15. You could level the same accusation at almost any industry.

    The fact is that capitalism’s relentless quest for efficiency is why we commoners live longer, healthier and better lives than history’s greatest monarchs. As industries mature, they consolidate. Provided that they are not allowed to develop monopolistic power (think Google) that consolidation allows new niche players to enter and disrupt the industry to drive another round of innovation that ultimately benefits everyone. (Once again, think Google, but back when everyone thought Microsoft was going dominate the internet. They never even saw Google coming).

  16. An epic excerpt from the Guardian’s panhandling attempts:

    America faces an epic choice …

    Rampant disinformation, partisan news sources and social media’s tsunami of fake news are no bases on which to inform the American public in 2020. We believe every one of us deserves equal access to fact-based news and analysis.

  17. Jane and David sum it up.
    The relentless regulation and reporting requirements,in the name of safety of course,have driven small scale meatworks out of business.
    There are lots of more pleasant and lucrative ways to spend your days,than working over half your day on unpaid compliance issues..
    These same regulations often written with the help of the large scale operators,who also get to self inspect.
    Too much government is as dangerous as none.
    Too little might be just about right.

    Strange how I can hunt an Elk,moose or mule deer and eat the meat,but it is damn near criminal to buy a steer from a farmer and butcher it myself…
    As the current systemic breakdowns are from government helping us.

    • Thank you John, what you said happened in Canada big time driving the small operators out of buisneaa . . . worth repeating . . . “The relentless regulation and reporting requirements,in the name of safety of course,have driven small scale meatworks out of business.
      There are lots of more pleasant and lucrative ways to spend your days,than working over half your day on unpaid compliance issues..
      These same regulations often written with the help of the large scale operators,who also get to self inspect.”

    • John,

      I don’t normally defend government regulation but in my experience, small beef producers are not overly burdened by compliance. I sell locker beef at $3/lb to a small group of customers. I pay $125 per head to the mobile slaughter guy who does the deed in my field and transports halves to the butcher. Customers pay the butcher $.8/lb for cut and wrap. At about 50% yield, total cost is about $8/lb for a mix of burger, steaks and roast. The beef cannot be resold but there are no compliance requirements beyond the butcher shop operating to within health standards like restaurants or other food processors.

      To sell by the pound, live cattle must be sent to a USDA certified facility where it is slaughtered in a more controlled environment. Sample testing is made to standards because the source and end user may be separated. There is a small USDA processor about 30 miles away in Prineville, OR. They also process for local restaurants that are partnered up with beef ranchers. (There are several micro breweries in the area that partner up with beef ranchers and send out their spent distillers grain. Cows love it.) The USDA inspection system is efficient and focused on prevention of contamination. At the ground level it is not political. It is not the EPA. Remember, every time there is an e coli outbreak, sentiments reverse.

      • The e-coli outbreaks over the last 10 years have almost invariably involved vegetables and packaged produce; frequently the “organic” ones bathed in manure tea that the Yuppies love so much!

        Now pass the ribeye . . .

  18. behind paywall. hope someone can access and report:

    10 May: UK Telegraph: Is the chilling truth that the decision to impose lockdown was based on crude mathematical guesswork?
    By Matt Ridley and David Davis
    Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College “stepped back” from the Sage group advising ministers when his lockdown-busting romantic trysts were exposed. Perhaps he should have been dropped for a more consequential misstep. Details of the model his team built to predict the epidemic are emerging and they are not pretty. In the respective words of four experienced modellers, the code is “deeply riddled” with bugs, “a fairly arbitrary Heath Robinson machine”, has “huge blocks of code – bad practice” and is “quite possibly the worst production code I have ever seen”.

    When ministers make statements about coronavirus policy they invariably say that they are “following the science”. But cutting-edge science is messy and unclear, a contest of ideas arbitrated by facts, a process of conjecture and refutation. This is not new. Almost two centuries ago Thomas Huxley described the “great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”…
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/10/chilling-truth-decision-impose-lockdown-based-crude-mathematical/

    • Instead of following “the science” a bunch of idiots followed a ridiculous spaghetti code produced by a fear-mongering lockdownista clown, based on absurd assumptions and junk science.

      BRAVO !

    • What will be teached in the mathematical, statistical, history, epidemiological, biological, medical, social, political, economics, …, fields about what happened in 2020 ?

      Instead of “following the science” a bunch of arrogant and irresponsible idiots destroyed their economies by blindly following a ridiculous spaghetti code spouted out by a fear-mongering lockdownista clown with pathetic track records, based on absurd assumptions and fake science.

      BRAVO !

  19. We in the beef industry, whether here in Australia or in the US, must not make it too easy for activists to shut the industry down, an outcome which is definitely on the agenda of some Guardian readers.

    I have no problem with decentralisation of processing, as quality and animal welfare is not enhanced by lengthy trucking etc and too few processors can put farmers in a difficult position. However, there is one benefit to centralisation and that is concentrated political clout. If one large business with many workers goes down, the media and politicians may take notice, if many smaller businesses suffer a similar fate there’s often eerie silence.

    There must be a point of equilibrium somewhere, but I doubt you’ll find it in The Guardian.

  20. The Guardian has a general point.
    During the last few decades the centralization of agriculture and diary farming in the EU has reached and extend to which for example Sweden can no longer feed it’s population. The reserves are only enough for two weeks.
    The Wu-Flu is only one of many incidents that can serve as food supply issues when such an over centralized system is in place.
    However, I don’t think the state is responsible, the customers are mainly responsible. We should worship buying locally, but we don’t do so due to price.

    On the Star Trek Enterprise they solved the issue by means of free food dispensers.

  21. The Guardian’s weather page carries the current CO2 level and also ‘safe level 350ppm’. Fascinated to see on Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans must-watch a number of people with ‘350’ on their T shirts- is there a cult -I must have missed it. What is the scientific support for 350ppm?

    • Support for 350ppm, easy. The voices in Bill McKibben’s head reached a scientific consensus.

        • Yes, messengers from the cult of pieces of green paper distribution. An intergalactic race with known benevolence for identifying the more useless members of human society whose jaws wag the most.

          Beam him up Mr Worf.

  22. It must be really difficult being a hack (I reserve the title journalist for those who deserve it) for The Guardian or a BBC presenter mouthing the nonsense the bloated organisation’s eco-marxists “researchers” spoon feed their gullible newsreaders, so much action worldwide to distort, mis-represent, twist to the lib-green narrative.

    Up today, climate, the government trying to save something from the economy and a carefully promoted story of irresponsible easing of lockdown, beef farming, Trump (a continuing twisting of everything possible and carefully edited quotations to create the image of a rogue) , etc etc. As the economy will be hard pressed and independent news organisation are already cutting staff because of COvid where is there any justification for expecting ordinary people to pay continuing high BBC licence fees to be told only one side of a story? Time to take an axe to this organisation.

    So much choice, so much to do to spread fear and hatred…

  23. The linked letter to the WH in the lead has got it exactly right :
    https://www.r-calfusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/200429-Letter-to-President-and-Senate-and-House-Leaders-Final.pdf

    Odd that the Grauniad of all rags picked this up. There is a cartel, a handful of meat-packers with awful working conditions, and now a COVID epicenter. Only four companies control 85% of all beef processing (Tyson Foods, Cargill, National Beef/Marfrig [Brazilian]) and JBS [Brazilian]). These same companies are also huge in hogs, along with the giant Smithfield Meats (WH Group, Chinese).
    How can it be that COOL — country of origin labeling — is currently not required for meat! What the hell is going on – that New York strip for breakfast could have come from Namibia which the USDA allows duty free!
    While farmers are forced to euthanize cattle the Cartel wants to import cheap beef.

    • Equalization of Opportunity Bill

      A bill designed by the Looters that proposes to limit the number of businesses any one person can own to one. It is aimed primarily at Hank Rearden, who uses Rearden Ore to guarantee Rearden Steel a supply of iron ore. By passing this Bill, the Looters can seize Rearden’s other businesses for themselves, and then deny him the iron he needs to run his steel mills.

      The Looters claim the Bill is meant to give a chance to the little guy.

      If there is a structural problem such as too onerous health regulations which are making it impossible for small producers to survive, I’m happy for small producers to campaign for the government to rip up some red tape. But I am not in favour of trying to outlaw big producers, its up to small producers to make the case for consumers to choose their product.

      • Ayn Rand’s Atlas can shrug, or rather shuffle along, but here comes the NDPA and CARES act as prelude to full anti-trust. It is the General Welfare in action.

  24. In the UK we lost all the small local abbatoirs as a result of the EU regulation that stipulated that there had to be a vet on duty at all times to check for disease in the incoming livestock. Smaller plants couldn’t afford it and closed. Farm to abbatoir travel therefore increased as animals had to be taken to the regional slaughterhouses further away. Then along came the foot-and-mouth disease, and the increased travel spread the disease more rapidly. It got worse: Neil Fergusons dodgy computer program made its utterly wrong predictions, and millions of healthy animals were slaughtered for nothing. Many livestock farmers gave up, I know one former cattle farmer personally, a lovely man, and the disaster nearly broke him. Others commited suicide after losing beatiful herds that they had spent decades developing. It was so bad that the government actually sized farmers guns to prevent more suicides.
    The Guardian is well-know for its anti-meat campaigning. This is nothing new.
    But I refuse to conform to their agenda.
    There are two sights that reasssure me that all is well in the world. One is a field full of ripening barley, the other is a field full of beatiful fat healthy cattle.

    • I am glad I am not the only one posting this info
      Ive stated it priorly on other posts
      Ferguson and King who followed and enforced the mass murders un neccesarily should have been hauled over the coals and booted out
      as usual they walk away richer and patting their own heads.
      Footn mout IS scary nasty to look at
      it kills few
      it IS recoverable from and the anmals and people are ok.
      but they didnt want that known.
      It gave them as youve stated utter total control over production and handed it to BigBiz on a platter

      • There’s also a vax for it that much of the rest of the world uses, but the UK won’t allow for trade-agreement reasons.

    • I seem to remember that one of the problems with the F&M disaster was that none of the vets recognised the symptoms because they hadn’t seem them before. So the Vet checking for disease didn’t work and it had spread to many locations before an experienced vet spotted it.

      Just for the Foot and Mouth fiasco Ferguson should have become a pariah in government and educational circles. Instead both he and his model came out smelling of roses.
      Unfortunately most of the world has followed his wreck the global economy advice.

      I’d rather have meat and vegetables produced by a farmer than quorn produced in a factory and coloured and flavoured by chemicals produced in another factory.
      The traditional English Breakfast dates back to the time when many families kept a pig and some chickens. The chicken was involved but the pig was committed.

  25. When reading anything put out by the Guardian (something I do not recommend if you wish to retain a sense of balance and sanity) always remember, they have an agenda to promote left wing ideology.
    Their modus operandi is always the same. They start an article with a kernel of facts, that seed base, is then advanced step by step, into an example of the dastardly integrated planning skills employed by the heinous capitalists to subdue and control the proletariat.
    Unfortunately, (for them) their own desire to control everything is exposed by their ongoing argument against entrepreneurs and business in general. That Guardian position, always ends up with a call to ban open markets/capitalism. The alternative to free markets and all that entails, being one world control group that are always going to provide benign and positive decisions for everyone everywhere…..
    The take away is, avoid reading the Guardian until you understand its role in the left’s pan world agenda.

  26. Too few players dominate the meat processing industry. They can afford lobbyists who pushed competition-crushing regulations.

    I think we need to eliminate laws and regulations that stifle free-market competition.

  27. Concentration of meat processing is less about efficiency, more about controlling the food supply for profit. And just now in the news, Smithfield exporting pork to China in record numbers after the new year, Smithfield own by China as you know. Maybe some of you know that during the potato famine in Ireland they kept on exporting beef, everything then in Ireland of course owned by the British. There is no efficiency in concentration of meat processing, animals have to be trucked long distances etc. etc. etc. all about Big Meat being able to vertically integrate, kill of competition and use cheap labor. And then Big Meat is importing meat from the strangest places in the world and putting in stores without telling the consumer where it came from, was able to kill label of origin laws. The truth is, Big Business, Big Meat included, is the enemy of the people, Big Business who moved the factories over seas. Big Business been ruining America for the last decades. And it is ruined, take a drive in rural America, one humongous ruin from shining sea to shining sea, us deplorables clinging to our guns and religion. Rural America was shafted by the coastal elite believing Big Business could take care of them, the deplorables disposable. What if the conspiracy theory the optiate epidemic was deliberate, feels like that sometimes. Some want take people out and put in buffalo instead.

    • I agree with you about the loss of efficiency with centralized meat processing.

      I don’t necessarily agree about “Big Business” being bad and is ruining America. It is government regulations that 1) incentivized the growth of Big Business with their growth of regulation, and 2) incentivized the movement of jobs overseas because of tax policy and regulation by the Bureaucratic Hegemony.

      Every Marxist state that has ever existed have had a Bureaucratic Hegemony. And it is that Bureaucratic Hegemony that always resulted in the downfall of the state. The Soviet Union and Maoists China are prime examples. America is fast approaching the point at which the Bureaucratic Hegemony is going to do the same to America. As the Bureaucratic Hegemony grows it kills the efficiency and innovation America is known for. We already have several blue states with huge Bureaucratic Hegemony’s that are nearing the edge of bankruptcy – New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California are perfect examples. People are fleeing these states for ones with small government and low taxes. It’s where America is headed with the federal government as well.

  28. Maybe its because of where I live? I just bought a quarter of a steer for $500. The small, local processing plant produced 225lbs of mixed steaks, roasts, and a lot of hamburger at a cost of $178. That’s an average of $3.00 per lb. That’s cheaper than hamburger in any of the local grocery chains let alone for steak and roasts.

    The local rancher is a pretty fair size operation. And the small, local processing plant makes enough to support the extended family that owns and operates it. That’s the way it used to be 50-60 years ago all over the country.

    When I was growing up in the 50’s this is how it was done just about everywhere. When I was 16 I worked part-time for a travelling butcher who would kill and butcher a cow or steer right on the farmers land. Whoever the meat was going to was responsible for grinding it up into hamburger if that’s they wanted as well as packaging it and freezing it.

    This cheaper way to operate was eliminated by the Bureaucratic Hegemony that was greatly expanded in the 60’s. The Bureaucratic Hegemony is not actually concerned about the safety of the people, they are solely concerned in growing in power and into furthering control over the people. The ability to sue local producers has always existed as a method of controlling those producers that operated in an unsafe manner. We don’t need a government bureaucracy performing that function “for” us.

  29. This is another disguised British attempt at protectionism along the lines of “chlorinated” chicken. And this from the same country that ignored farm health warnings about mad cow disease to”go its own way” with policy. They are very persistent in shooting themselves in the foot.

  30. Government inspectors have been doing the bidding of the big players for years
    at the expense of the public and the small independent producer. Here is a 2 part
    news story that exposes the usda for what it is.—->https://mtstandard.com/news/local/feds-admit-harassing-small-butte-meat-plant-but-take-no-action/article_22db6b9c-a417-5d85-9c22-4e8424d6c9cf.html

    part 2——->https://mtstandard.com/news/state-and-regional/legg-regs-take-their-toll-on-plants-throughout-montana/article_4a5a8462-c69b-5c6e-bb69-77d5635ffc6f.html

    The state senators and rep promised action when this story ran but nothing to date has happened.

    • This is totally unacceptable. It reminds me of how the small processing plant in the small farming town I grew up in was shut down even though there had *never* been even one consumer complaint about the product it produced over twenty years. They simply couldn’t afford to keep up with all the regulations.

      It’s just one more indication of the power of the Bureaucratic Hegemony. There simply isn’t any recourse. They can simply ignore even the demands of a state governor or federal senator with no accountability whatsoever.

      There should be a numbered and signed survey covering the first line inspector and their immediate supervisor left at the site of every inspection. These should be collected and available for public review. It would be quite obvious who is nothing more than someone who harasses and who is an actual inspector looking out for safety.

    • It is more than unacceptable, criminal. The USDA is terrifying and intimidating us who are trying to direct market the meat we raise. I do not know how this situation evolved over the years, did not happen over night, but here we are with a broken system where Big Meat with the help of the USDA has systematically put small processing plants/sloughterhouses out of buissness.

    • Same with the BBC, and don’t go insulting Pravda like that.

      If you’re wondering where the [/sarc] tag is, there isn’t one.

  31. The only fresh meat at Costco yesterday was turkey burger. Who wants to eat that?

    The beef and pork shortage was sparked by news stories of a couple processing plant problems. Then the panic set in and the lemmings stampeded. Meat is susceptible to binge buying because it freezes as well as toilet paper stacks. Meanwhile, cattle prices are depressed. (700-800 feeder steers in central Oregon are going for $150cwt. Last year they were going for $180cwt) Markets will adjust. There is no need for the president to design a new supply system. Lemmings will stampede another direction. Costco had plenty of toilet paper.

    This is a story about nothing.

  32. A lobby which represents cattle farmers and ranchers, R-Calf USA, wrote to the White House urging it to consider restructuring the beef industry so there are more plants owned by more people.

    Red Flag!
    Since when is it within the authority of the US government to “restructure” any industry?
    From their website:

    Our Slogan
    R-CALF USA: Fighting for the U.S. Independent Cattle Producer

    Our Mission
    The Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) represents the U.S. cattle and sheep industries in trade and marketing issues to ensure the continued profitability and viability of independent U.S. cattle and sheep producers.

    I like the sound of that goal.
    BUT they want BIG GOVERNMENT to “restructure” the beef industry?!?!
    Bye-bye “Independent” Cattle Producers!
    Hello AOC/GND branded livestock!
    If any of you are members, time to replace your leadership.

    • Wrong Say Hello to American Farmers and Ranchers Union and Join Us
      http:americannationalagricultureunion.com
      We are dedicated to returning Ownership and Control to the ones that know Best – American Farmers and Ranchers !!!!YOU ARE THE OWNERS YOU ARE THE CONTROLLERS LEARN HOW TO TAKE BACK WHAT HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM AMERICAN FARMERS AND RANCHERS ! Its YOUR NATION !!Sinceraly ,Jessene Roe Beecroft,Trustee and Chairman Interim of The American National Agriculture Union of The United States of America

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