JBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef are responsible for over 80 percent of the US feedlot cattle processing in the US. There are other companies as well, such as Seaboard, with their hand in the meatpacking industry as well. I am focusing on the beef industry in this post but the same principals and problems are in play with pork and poultry as well.
If true journalism still existed in the world, this is a huge story that needs exposed. These four companies as well as a few smaller companies are owned by wealthy shareholders and investment companies. These very same companies have lobbyists in DC and donate huge sums of money to political campaigns. They also have been pushing for eliminating the American farmer while using climate change scare tactics to further their control over the market. American ranchers produce cattle with the lowest carbon footprint in the world. We produce larger and healthier cattle that are grass or grain fed and actually help the land maintain a balance with nature while increasing the rate and gain of meat on a steer. Hormones and antibiotics are expensive and unhealthy. Antibiotics are only used when necessary for the health of an animal. Then you do not process that animal until the antibiotics are completely out of it’s system. No one should be eating meat filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Large pockets of yellow fat on chicken are caused by growth hormones. Large corporations are the only ones who could afford or gain anything from those practices. Cattle ranchers as a rule eat their own meat. The average rancher could not afford to use either with their slim profit/loss margin. Most of what urban America has been sold about cattle in the US is complete nonsense. BUT, if you eliminate agriculture in the US, this group of corporations has complete control over pricing and quantity of available food. The health and carbon footprint of imported animals is not even comparable to US livestock. Not on any level. Our carbon footprint is lower and our animals are healthier. We do not have mad cow disease in the US. We don’t feed cattle to themselves. We bury or burn dead cattle. Do not give this handful of people complete control over your food supply. That is idiocy. President Trump won the 2016 election in part because of the American farmer. We see everyday firsthand what is going on with the US food supply and it’s sold to the American people as climate change. Yes, we do have climate change. Yes, we do need to stop contaminating our soil, water, and air. The coronavirus is pretty telling because the pollution is clearing and yet the American farmers have changed nothing about their daily businesses. I live in farm country. The well water where I grew up is still phenomenal and pure. There is an artesian well off state highway 11 that has a faucet where anyone can stop and fill water bottles with free artesian spring water. It’s on the north side of the Great Salt Plains Wildlife Reserve. You purchase this bottled water from the local bottling company. Think about that.
The meatpacking plants employ refugees and immigrant workers. These workers are bused to the plants where they often live in barracks on site or in cheap housing surrounding the plants. Refugees from Somalia and other African countries or Malaysia comprise a large percentage of the workers as well as Spanish speaking refugees from Mexico, South America, or Cuba. These people are dropped off into sparsely populated areas where they do not speak the local language and have zero chance of gaining any other type of employment. The Spanish speaking refugees fare better. They are able to seek other employment and living quarters. The US Government pays for medical benefits for the first 8 months plus a monthly payment. Why? Apparently, companies like Tyson cannot afford to provide healthcare policies for their workers. The companies also can pay them minimal pay while they receive government checks and live in substandard housing. Meanwhile, meat prices are set by these four companies across the US. Cattle ranchers sell their cattle at auction purchased by these packing plants for slaughter. Yes, they absolutely can set the sale prices and they do. Otherwise, the cattle rancher maintains the breeding herd or show cattle in some instances.
The spread of COVID-19 in meatpacking plants can in part be explained by the living conditions of it’s employees. These refugees were brought here from other countries where some of them had literally never been to a doctor or dentist, live in grass huts, do not have indoor plumbing or sanitation, and have never been educated as to how diseases spread etc. Inside the plant, they have to maintain health standards. At home, many of them throw used toilet paper etc. into the corner of the bathroom onto the floor. They’ve never had a toilet where they could flush used toilet paper. Many of them have never had a toilet. Some of the spread of COVID-19 at these facilities is happening inside their homes. I do question how the virus arrived to these facilities to begin with when the virus is not in the population surrounding the facility.
What are we doing now that there is a break in the food supply chain? Importing livestock from other countries. You have got to be fucking joking. The FDA needs a good ass chewing. We are still going to have to process the meat at these same facilities or we are buying meat slaughtered in Namibia? Really? That’s your answer?
These four companies as well as the smaller players are owned by billionaire controlled investment companies and billionaire and millionaire shareholders who also own the media and the politicians. America needs to wake up and realize that the long-term affect on our food in the US may be devastating.