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AMI Letter in New York Times: Editorial on GIPSA Rule Misses Basic Facts

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

(American Meat Institute)

A September 7, 2010, editorial printed in the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/atb1H3) in support of a recently proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration  (GIPSA) rule misses basic facts, says AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle in a letter published in the newspaper today.

“A chorus of meat companies and livestock producers, large and small, say the proposal threatens the partnerships that make the United States meat and poultry industry more competitive in the world market,” says Boyle.

Boyle notes that the meat industry disagrees with the newspaper’s claim of “increasing concentration,” pointing to Department of Agriculture data, which states that the four-firm concentration ratio in the fed-cattle-processing sector has not changed since 1995. In addition, dozens of government and university studies — including a 2007 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) analysis — have declared competition alive and well.

Boyle says trial lawyers will be the real beneficiaries of the USDA’s proposal because it would lower the standard of evidence required to win lawsuits against companies when claiming unfair treatment.

Boyle notes that the administrator who oversaw the writing of the rule, himself a trial lawyer, has said publicly since he assumed his position those terms like “unfair, unreasonable or undue prejudice” — the exact words in the rule — are “a plaintiff lawyer’s dream.”

“Perhaps that’s The Times’ version of reform, but most Americans would surely disagree,” Boyle concludes.

In addition to Boyle’s letter, the New York Times published a letter of response from Sam Carney, president of the National Pork Producers Council.

Says Carney, “If the goal is to reduce concentration in meatpacking, the Agriculture Department’s new rules for buying and selling livestock are the wrong approach. They will increase — not decrease — concentration.”

To view the letters in their entirety, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/62757

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