Consolidation among meat packers is dangerous. Big government is the cause

Timothy P. Carney

Pork and beef are running low in grocery stores. Cattlemen and pig farmers are suffering as they have nobody to buy their livestock. And slaughterhouse workers are dying of the coronavirus.

We have a crisis in American meat caused by consolidation. “Big Meat” has become a bad guy amid this pandemic, and rightly so. Liberals, of course, blame a lack of regulation. Economic nationalists such as Sen. Josh Hawley are calling for antitrust investigations.

But when consolidation is the problem, and in meat processing, it really is, big government often turns out to be the problem, not the solution.

In few industries are the “bigs” as big as they are in meatpacking. Three firms, Tyson, Cargill, and Brazil-based JBS, process two-thirds of the beef in the United States. And they do it in relatively few plants.

As a result, when coronavirus outbreaks shut down just 12 slaughterhouses, that reduced U.S. pork production by 25% and beef by 10%, according to Bloomberg News.

Click here to read more of this Washington Examiner article by Timothy P. Carney.