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  4. > Meat Packing: Industry caters to meaty tastes, but at a cost

Introduction

The meat packing industry has taken over traditional methods of animal slaughtering and processing and has made the process efficient to such an extent that meat products are not only cheap but readily available. Whilst this industry can be praised, it is not without its drawbacks as many consumers are completely unaware of the processes used in the industry to make it so efficient.

Features and benefits

* Find out how the meat packing industry has developed and who the major players are.
* Learn what major practices have been used to make the US one of the cheapest places to buy meat.
* Look in depth at the techniques which are controversial in world meat packing and how countries do things differently.
* Examine the scandals that the industry has suffered through and why activists want the industry to change.

Highlights

A rather specific set of conditions has allowed such huge meat packing companies to arise both in the US and worldwide, the industrialization of the food production process and tastes moving dramatically towards more protein and meat consumption.
Some of the leading players in the US meat packing industry and worldwide have a small number of operations units but vast daily slaughter capacities, showing how they have concentrated their operations.
The concentration and development of the meat packing industry has meant that certain practices which save time during operations and can be efficient in practice have been adopted, but which are ethically questionable. Animal rights groups have condemned the meat packing industry for what it says are cruel practices in the pursuit of cheap meat.

Your key questions answered

* Who are the big four meat packers in the US and what market shares do they command?
* How has the industry helped to change modern society?
* Are there any major threats to the industry?
* Is the industry too consolidated and is competition therefore threatened?
* Why do animal rights activists continue to criticise the industry and how does the industry protect itself?

Table Of Contents

Meat Packing: Industry caters to meaty tastes, but at a cost
OVERVIEW
Catalyst
Summary
LEADING PLAYERS IN US MEAT PACKING
JBS
Tyson Foods
Smithfield Foods
Growth has been rapid and extraordinary
MEAT PACKING INDUSTRY WORLDWIDE
Industrializing food production has allowed us to eat cheaply
Cheap corn is driving down the price of meat in the USA
International differences show meat packing development
INDUSTRIALIZING THE ABBATOIR
Hiding the inner workings of the slaughter house
Concentration of facilities in mega processing plants
Cheap labor is the basis of the industry
Wages decreasing as processes become more mechanized
The industry has a large environmental impact
US PRODUCTS BANNED ELSEWHERE
Posilac growth hormone
Ractopamine-Tainted Meat
Arsenic-Laced Chicken
Thin finely textured beef (Pink Slime)
Chicken washed in chlorine
ISSUES OF ANIMAL CRUELTY
Consistently, legislation has been shown to be limited
Animal welfare as a barrier to trade
Cruel practices remain entrenched in the industry
The industry has been caught up in big scandals before
CONCLUSIONS
Industrialization of the meat industry is remarkable
Some of the practices that are adopted are inexcusable
Only consumer tastes will affect the company's actions
APPENDIX
Definitions
Sources
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