D.C., April 15, 2005: New legislation introduced
by United States Senators, Ken Salazar, D-Colorado,
and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would ban packer ownership
of livestock and ensure market access for large and
small cattle producers. The new legislation will prohibit
packers from owning, feeding or controlling livestock
for more than seven days prior to slaughter. The intention
of the legislation is to limit the influence large meatpackers
have over market prices. Currently, four meat packers
control over 80% of the beef market. The bi-partisan
legislation has already garnered several co-sponsors
and the support of the National Farmers Union.
The idea of banning packer ownership is not a new one,
similar legislation had been proposed as part the 2002
Farm bill but faced severe opposition from the House
of Representatives and was abandoned.