Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) explained that millions of cows and pigs will be euthanized if the status quo of varying economic restrictions across the country, ostensibly in response to the coronavirus outbreak, continue. He offered his remarks on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel Pollak.
Reduced demand for pigs due to shutdowns of meat-processing plants — including the Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls, SD, which was shut down indefinitely after 600 workers contracted the coronavirus — is already compelling the destruction of thousands of animals that cannot be processed for food.
Rounds explained how farmers and meat processing plants coordinate schedules based on animal maturation and reproduction.
“Meat processors, whether it be beef or pork, they have to schedule in the live cattle and the live hogs so the producers — the farmers and the ranchers — that produce pigs and cattle have them set up to the proper weight and a particular day, and they’re expected to deliver those to processing plants during a particular week,” Rounds said.
Rounds added, “Once you stop that supply chain, you suddenly then have a glut at the farmer or the ranch position with livestock that you still have to feed, and they still continue to grow and get bigger and bigger, but there’s no place to go with them.”
“They will be euthanizing — killing — over a million head of hogs a month a month, very, very, shortly, beginning here in the next one to two weeks,” stated Rounds. “There’s no way we can stop that until we start opening up these production facilities again.”
The aforementioned Smithfield Foods plant accounts for “five percent of the total hog production in the United States,” Rounds stated, adding, “that’s 20,000 hogs a day that they’re no longer taking.”
Rounds went on, “That’s 20,000 hogs a day that will be euthanized because other plants are also shutting down. We will be losing that. In fact, those other plants are shutting down now. [It is] the same in the cattle industry where right now, cattlemen, they’re hardly getting paid anything for their cattle, and yet in the grocery store, you’re seeing a huge price for beef.”
Rounds warned, “This will impact food in the cooler at the supermarkets very, very quickly.”
A national strategy is needed for reopening meat processors safely, determined Rounds. He also called for federal assistance to farmers and ranchers.
“What do we do to help these producers who have literally no price at all for their livestock today, and how are we going to help them euthanize literally millions of head of livestock to safely and ecologically handle what we can’t process now?” asked Rounds. “What is the long-term plan to pay for all of this expenditure that we’re going to end up having? And we shouldn’t be doing this on an emergency basis. We should be doing this on a planned basis, knowing that it will be happening to us in the very near future.”
Rounds remarked, “We’re looking at euthanizing millions of pigs millions [and] cows if this supply can’t get back up and running.”
I have been in contact with Vice President Pence’s office,” continued Rounds. “We’ve had good communications with them, and we have advised them that they need to lay out a plan through the Department of Agriculture to somehow help offset the cost of this euthanization and the disposal of these carcasses. You have to do it safely, so you don’t spread disease.”
Rounds concluded, “It’s a shame, unfortunately. There’s a huge amount of protein that is going to go to waste. Think about a farmer or rancher whose life is to make these livestock grow as quickly and as efficiently as possible to then turn around to have to destroy these animals. This is a terrible thing for them emotionally [and] psychologically. This is really hard on our farmers and our ranchers and yet they really don’t have a choice.”
Breitbart News Sunday broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
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