Meet your meat

cattle by John Faherty

* I apologise for the lack of posts this week – unfortunately life has not been too kind to me and things are a little topsy turvy 😦 Things will be (almost) back to normal soon I trust!*

Many years ago, when I’d just joined the ranks of vegetarianism, I saw a documentary and Q&A named the above. It was certainly an eye opener but as a person who had already researched the meat industry in the US at least, it wasn’t surprising. The presenters of the film were more focused on the cruelty to animals, which is of course a concern, but when I looked into where my meat was coming from, the concern was more selfish. What was I being offered to buy and was it of the sort of quality I would be willing to consume? I will spare you the details, in this area of life, I believe to each their own – but I know what my conscience would and would not allow when it came to what I was willing to eat.

The meat industry, nay the food industry should be a concern to EVERYONE’S. After all food and eating is a key facet of everyone’s daily life. EVERYONE. Not only should we be concerned with the source, but the quality and development of such industries.

I came across a very very interesting AP article on The Brooklyn Home Companion the other day that I think everyone should keep an eye on. Titled , Meat, poultry industries await new antitrust rules. A few excerpts from this article that caught my eye:

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal regulators are set to release the most sweeping antitrust rules covering the meat industry in decades, potentially altering the balance of power between meat companies and the farmers who raise their animals.

Activists, farmers and meat industry officials have been anxiously awaiting the new rules, which will be released this spring for public comment and are set to take effect this summer. The regulations are seen as a kind of litmus test for the Obama administration and how far it will go in regulating competition in the meat industry.

At issue is how much power farmers have as they produce cattle, hogs and chickens for large companies such as JBS SA, Smithfield Farms and Tyson Foods. The new rules will govern how meatpackers buy their cattle on an open market and what demands poultry companies can make on the independent contractors who raise their chickens.”

and

“Just four companies buy and slaughter 80 percent of all U.S. beef, limiting competition in the meat industry. Meanwhile, big poultry companies dictate chicken prices and can demand farmers take on debt to upgrade their chicken houses for the companies’ benefit.

Farmers such as Weaver, who has met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, think the new leaders in the USDA’s antitrust division will push for tougher and more far-reaching regulations than previous administrations. Some believe the new rules could be the strongest antitrust protections imposed since the Great Depression.

There’s also a risk they will drive up the cost of meat, eating into meatpackers’ profits or pushing up prices at grocery stores if companies pass on the expense.”

I highly recommend everyone take the time to read the article in its entirety, it’s not that long, and keep track of where this thing goes. After all, it is a part of your, my and everyone’s daily life.

image by john faherty

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