Washington, 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.