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RedPatriot's avatar

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Quote:
* Without USDA inspectors, meat plants would have to close

* Production losses of $10 billion possible

* White House ties budget cuts to everyday life (Meatpackers say USDA can avoid mass shutdowns)

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The Obama administration warned on Friday that across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in March may result in furloughing every U.S. meat and poultry inspector for two weeks, causing the meat industry to shut down.

By law, meatpackers and processors are not allowed to ship beef, pork, lamb and poultry meat without the Agriculture Department's inspection seal.

The prospect of mass furloughs of meat and food inspectors was part of a broader White House warning about the effects of the potential spending cuts on everyday life. Meatpackers said a shut-down would devastate consumers as well as their industry.

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans still must resolve differences over spending cuts and tax increases, dubbed the "fiscal cliff," which essentially was delayed by both sides from happening on Jan. 1 and was pushed back until March.

"USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service may have to furlough all employees for approximately two weeks," a White House statement said.

An estimated $10 billion in production would be lost during a two-week furlough, said a USDA official, and consumers could see meat shortages and higher prices as a result.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack lamented across-the-board spending cuts during a speech to state agriculture directors earlier this week.

"There is not much we can do when Congress says to cut every line item by a certain percent," Vilsack said. He said employee pay accounted for the bulk of spending at the meat safety agency.

USDA spends about $1 billion on meat safety annually and has 8,400 inspectors at 6,290 slaughter and processing plants.

The American Meat Institute, a trade group, said the USDA should try to keep meat plants open while meeting targets for cuts, rather than going ahead with a mass furlough.

It said the agency could suspend non-essential programs and furlough employees other than inspectors to avoid "inflicting unnecessary hardship" on the meat industry.

A trade group for ranchers and cattle feeders said "food safety is a partnership" that requires government participation. "Our common goal is to ensure that inspections remain unhindered," the National Cattleman's Beef Association said.

Chicago livestock traders mostly viewed the White House threat as a budgetary bluff.

"Can you imagine the flak?" asked Joseph Ocrant, a trader who said he was skeptical the White House would pull inspectors out of plants for two weeks.

Americans consume more than 200 pounds (91 kg) of meat apiece each year, an average of slightly more than one-half pound a day. (Additional reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Ros Krasny and Paul Simao)


Source;
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/09/meat-industry-shutdown_n_2649456.html
Ju Tru Nix's avatar

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emotion_facepalm This seems like a spending cut that would cost more in the long run, if they are actually serious about it. sweatdrop
The economy is still rather lousy... if they are serious about it than hundreds of jobs will be lost for weeks.
Rosemary_Red's avatar

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The hardcore vegans...Will have....A dance party....


Pia Austin's avatar

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Lol at the vegan dance party
Ask Jappleack's avatar

Greedy Consumer

Meat is unproductive because you need more land and time than with plants, for example, you feeding those plants to the animals for years just to chop it up and eat it, it ends up usually being a huge waste of energy even if money can be made, im talking in scientific terms. It doesnt work industrially, when theres hundreds of the animals, no wonder they have small living conditions all the animal activists and vegans go on about.

So meat is really inefficient, and it pollutes greenhouse gasses because of their methane.

So really it is wise to shut down some meat production. But after htose places close down what else will take its place in land?
rawnie14's avatar

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HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES? YES... IT'S CALLED NEGOTIATION TACTICS,EACH WITH THEIR EXAGGERATED CLAIMS. DON'T YOU KNOW?
Honey of the South's avatar

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We Are Organisms
Meat is unproductive because you need more land and time than with plants, for example, you feeding those plants to the animals for years just to chop it up and eat it, it ends up usually being a huge waste of energy even if money can be made, im talking in scientific terms. It doesnt work industrially, when theres hundreds of the animals, no wonder they have small living conditions all the animal activists and vegans go on about.

So meat is really inefficient, and it pollutes greenhouse gasses because of their methane.

So really it is wise to shut down some meat production. But after htose places close down what else will take its place in land?
Are you talking about the methane from cow farts?
Caitybc's avatar

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I'll just stock up on chicken and beef, when the time comes. Plus, I can still buy fish and seafood.
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Caitybc
I'll just stock up on chicken and beef, when the time comes. Plus, I can still buy fish and seafood.

Now there's an amusing thought - that the story might be pushed harder by the meat industry in hopes lots of folks would stock up and boost sales in the short run.

This seems more like scare tactics and an example of why across the board level cuts are not the best solution rather than something I expect to actually come to pass. They might have across the board cuts but I'm guessing they will figure out some other way to implement cuts in the meat industry such as staggering the furloughs or even having five two-day shutdowns spread over the year rather than two five-day work weeks back to back.
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I would hope they'd shut down! I wouldn't want people to be eating anything that hadn't been inspected!

But yeah, the point is, what happens when the budget cuts happen?
no not the meat!!! anything but the meat!!!! cat_crying
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yum_tea This would hurt meat industry employees, which is terrible, but it would hardly "devastate" consumers. Americans eat far more meat than they need and less fruits and vegetables than they should; two weeks of not eating meat might do us all some good. It would force people to educate themselves about nutrition and give them the opportunity to learn to love fresh produce again.

Beans are cheap and healthy, people. Give them a try, I promise they won't kill you.
We Are Organisms
Meat is unproductive because you need more land and time than with plants, for example, you feeding those plants to the animals for years just to chop it up and eat it, it ends up usually being a huge waste of energy even if money can be made, im talking in scientific terms. It doesnt work industrially, when theres hundreds of the animals, no wonder they have small living conditions all the animal activists and vegans go on about.

So meat is really inefficient, and it pollutes greenhouse gasses because of their methane.

So really it is wise to shut down some meat production. But after htose places close down what else will take its place in land?


You seem to forget that there are people whose diets rely on saturated fats and animal protein, primarily diabetics and hypoglycemics. I personally have low blood sugar, and without meat intake during the day several times a day, my blood sugar spikes all over the place and crashes. For me to eat a high-fat, high protein and low carb diet - I am able to completely control my blood glucose without any use of medications or other products. I guess meat is inefficient to produce, but it's a major part of many people's diets.

To make things clear: My diet was developed by a Nutritionist and it's worked wonders. Also, for as long as I can remember even as a child I had low blood sugar. Probably was born with it.

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