Too Many Animals, But Not Enough Meat?


Ripple effects are being felt due to meat processing plants shut down by COVID-19 outbreaks: too much livestock on farms, but not enough meat on shelves.

(NBC News) Meat shortages on store shelves and at restaurants are another sign the nation’s food supply chain has taken a hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ranches, farms and feed lots are packed, but market shelves are sometimes empty.

Fast food chain Wendy’s has been forced to pull burgers from the menu at nearly one-fifth of its restaurants according to one estimate.

The company says it expects the shortage to be temporary.

The coronavirus has sickened workers at many of the nation’s meat and poultry packing plants, forcing some to temporarily halt production.

That’s leaving livestock suppliers in a lurch as well, with some saying they may be forced to euthanize animals they can’t take to market.

“We’re not wired to euthanize pigs,” says farmer Aaron Cook.  “We take a lot of pride in raising pigs that are meant for food and for safe, healthy  food, and to think about that going to waste is what’s hardest for me.

Consumers may have to buy less meat as a result.  Large chains like Costco and Kroger, and even some small butcher shops, are limiting the amount of meat consumers can purchase.

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