In the last week, the media headlines have included concerns about possible meat shortages. Livestock farmers and ranchers across the country are verging on bankruptcy – while consumers are facing increasing prices and empty shelves in the groceries.
With hundreds of millions of livestock and poultry in this country, why are we having these problems?
COVID-19 is not the reason for the problems, it’s just the straw that is breaking the camel’s back in our deeply flawed food system. Four companies control processing of over 80% of the country’s beef, and four companies control processing of two-thirds of the country’s pork. The consolidation has led to most meat being processed at massive plants where as many as 400 cattle are slaughtered an hour. Workers in these facilities labor under very difficult and often unsafe conditions – and that’s before you add in the issue of a highly contagious disease.
Yet the government regulations are designed for these massive, industrial-scale facilities, making it difficult or sometimes even impossible for small-scale facilities to comply.…