Current Cattle Market Daily Headlines for January 6, 2021

by | Jan 6, 2021 | 0 comments

Slave labor at Brazilian cattle farms focus of new report

  • According to Reporter Brasil, an independent research group focused on environmental and labor issues, more than a dozen cases have been identified where JBS SA, Minerva SA and four smaller producers slaughtered cattle that most likely came from farms flagged for extreme worker abuses in recent years throughout Brazil.
  • JBS made these purchases before the offender farms were added to the so-called Dirty List, a rolling government database the company checks daily to make sure it’s not running afoul of labor commitments.
  • Minerva ended up with cattle from these farms as they hopped from farm to farm, making the animals difficult to track.
  • This situation adds to the growing pressure from investors and consumers that are demanding a more sustainable supply chain in the beef industry.
    • It also contributes to the accusations that Brazil’s budget-strapped regulators may not be doing the best job keeping tabs on a sprawling network of ranches that are among the main culprits of deforestation.
  • The majority of cattle in Brazil are grass-fed and rogue ranchers in the nation are famous for using fire and axe to clear pastureland in the Amazon rainforest and Brazil’s Cerrado savanna.
  • In the past, slave labor in Brazil’s livestock industry has been tied to burning of land rather than cattle production.
  • When federal inspectors searched the properties of the farms accused of slave labor, they found some workers living in shacks made of tree branches, without access to toilets, kitchens or clean water for drinking and bathing, according to Reporter Brasil.
  • JBS stated that the company “strictly complies” with all its commitments to fight slave labor and deforestation by monitoring direct suppliers.
  • Minerva denied doing business directly with the ranchers recently accused of slave labor.
    • The company said that they don’t have enough legally available government data to find any irregularities related to the direct supplier.
  • JBS, Marfrig and Minerva are able to monitor their direct suppliers of cattle, but they claim there is no way to accurately track who those farms buy their cattle from.


Faster line speeds at chicken plants criticized

  • According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration is hurrying to finalize a rule that would make faster line speeds at poultry plants permanent.
  • In 2020, Trump approved 15 poultry plants to increase slaughter line speeds during the pandemic, a move that made it more difficult for workers to maintain space between each other.
    • Critics assert that this has increased the spread of Covid-19.
  • If the Trump administration is able to finalize this rule, it will allow faster line speeds at other poultry plants, a move that goes against president-elect Joe Biden’s views.
  • “Whether it’s cattle, whether it’s beef, whether it’s pigs, whether it’s chickens, they’re moving down that line faster and faster to increase profit rate,” stated Biden last year.
    • He believes that the process needs to be slowed to ensure worker safety.
  • The Washington Post reported that since 2018, the Trump administration has issued- or reissued- temporary waivers that grant permission to 54 poultry plants to increase line speeds.
    • These plants were able to go from 140 to 175 birds per minute, a 25 percent increase.
      • These plants are also 10 times more likely to have coronavirus cases in their facilities.
    • According to the USDA, a “direct link” between line speeds and the prevalence of coronavirus cases has not been established.


Boxed beef prices

  • Choice boxed beef: $205.90 (-3.97)
  • Select boxed beef: $196.49 (-0.04)


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How did we get here?

From the Holcomb Tyson fire to COVID-19;
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