Re: Imported beef.
Ky hills wrote:I see Jo's point as well, but it is unlikely that any control would be ceded over to individual states at this time in history. I would like to see our producers be able to market meat direct to consumers easier, and more cost effective. My support of COOL is two fold, with out it I am concerned that it could lead to mass importation of beef, both processed and on the hoof, and that in turn could have devastating effects on our local demand and increase health concerns for our livestock. I agree that it would be easier to have our voices heard on a state level than at the national level.
There is actually legislation in the works to change this and give this authority back to the states. Probably won't get to far because the meat monopoly lobbyists will fight this tooth and nail on the grounds of meat safety. Personally, I have no problem with imports because I believe quality will always sell and I seriously doubt those who care more about price than quality give a hoot on whether their meat comes from the USA or Uganda. I think Walmart showed us that. I also don't mind the USDA having a part in food inspection but I believe their role should only be when it comes to interstate or international sales.
As for immigration, the meat lobbyists are one of the strong supporters for open borders because they rely so heavily on immigrant labor to work in their huge slaughterhouses so much so most all the meat lines are now facing east to appease the muslims. The irony here is that WE, through the mandatory beef checkoff funds ultimately fund this very lobby that clearly goes against our very beliefs and interests.
The big question here is why should the USDA have any say on what we do with our beef when its sold to our neighbors in our local community? I think most of us have enough sense to know if our neighbor runs a good sanitary operation or not and we don't need some gov't stamp to tell us they are conscientious and do a good job. Heck, I'm sure we all know of a restaurant or greasy spoon in our community that has the gov't stamp yet we all know it is nasty and and unfit to eat at. So we don't. And soon, capitalism will put them out of business. However, we are deprived of this knowledge by the federal government because the game is rigged to the large meat processing monopoly and they are given the luxury of anonymity through their large size.
If you look at this historically you can see how a lot of this came about by Sinclair's book The Jungle, where he talked about the plight of the workers in these big meat packing facilities. He spoke of the unsanitary conditions in these plants but what by his own admission his main emphasis was that of the plight of the worker and how they were being used. The public was outraged and legislation was passed to correct this. Upton later admitted that his message fell on deaf ears because the legislation passed did nothing to address the problem he saw and it penalized the good parts of the industry. In other words, it put the small local butchers out of business.
These local butchers created skilled jobs. They were family businesses and unlike a mega-processor who hires someone to make a single cut on a carcass the employees here had to know how to process the whole animal into cuts of beef. These people were highly trained and this craft was essentially an art and people made careers of it. Even more, you knew these people and got to look them in the eye when buying their meat. In my small town we had three butchers, each competing against the other and each had at least six full time employees. You could carry a calf to one of them and they would either process the whole thing for you or you could do it on shares and they would sell their share to the public or you could just sell them the whole calf and there was never any re-calls on millions of pounds of meat like we see today.
Just think about how this could effect your bottom line of your operation. Just say you took one calf and ground the whole thing into burger and were able to sell it without the expense of the unnecessary bureaucracy. Sold as ground, one calf would fetch you around $2000 and this wouldn't include the money you'd receive from the fifth quarter. And this doesn't even factor in the fact that your friends and neighbors would be getting some of the best beef they've ever had and this in itself would negate any concerns we might have with imported beef because people wouldn't want imported because they would know the difference. As it is, very few people truly know the difference.
The million dollar question is, why are we not allowed to do this when all it would do is good for our local community and for our operations? Clearly, its not about food safety so its got to be about something else.