Regulation

Joe Biden Should Think Twice About Cracking Down on Meat-Processing Plants

Requiring meatpackers to pandemic-proof their facilities will have unintended consequences.

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President-elect Joe Biden's administration will likely ramp up regulation of meatpackers after Covid-19 outbreaks spread through many of the nation's biggest processing plants, USA Today reported this week. While these facilities have not managed COVID-19 well, any new regulations will likely have unintended consequences.

As I explained in a May article on COVID-19 outbreaks at meat processing plants, these facilities necessarily require "hundreds of employees to stand elbow-to-elbow while working at breakneck speed." Social distancing? Not a chance. The sheer number of people working quickly and closely together is what likely turned these processing plants into daily superspreader events. Plants were forced to close temporarily after thousands of workers were sickened. Hundreds of those workers died.

The USA Today report says OSHA, the federal agency charged with regulating workplace safety, refused or failed to enforce its own guidelines to protect these meat-plant workers during the pandemic. And it suggests Biden will use a "heavier hand" to regulate the industry.

While the piece notes Biden has so far offered no specifics about any plans to increase plant regulations, it points to prior Biden critiques of the Trump administration's handling of plant worker safety during the pandemic, and calls for new workplace standards, hiring more OSHA inspectors, and requiring employers to ensure workers are socially distanced and provided with masks and other health and safety tools. 

While some of those changes could happen quickly, one expert cited in the USA Today piece says implementing such wholesale changes would require "major legislation" to be passed. That's unlikely.

Whether or not the Biden administration's nebulous plans ultimately coalesce, I see at least three ways any such plans may cause workers to lose their jobs.

First, whichever rules the Biden administration might impose, if they reduce worker density at meat plants that are already operating at capacity, then there simply won't be room—or jobs—for all of the workers that currently staff these plants. 

That's because meatpacking plants are designed to maximize output while complying with existing rules. Changing the rules means changing the plants. That's not easy.

"Please understand, processing plants were no more designed to operate in a pandemic than hospitals were designed to produce pork," meat processing giant Smithfield wrote in a public communication this past summer. "In other words, for better or worse, our plants are what they are. Four walls, engineered design, efficient use of space, etc. Spread out? OK. Where?"

That's not just some industry doublespeak. Douglas Trout, a Centers for Disease Control expert who focuses on workplace health and safety, told the industry publication Meatingplace recently he saw "no reason, necessarily, to have the occupational safety and health controls to prevent person-to-person spread of a virus like SARS-CoV-2 prior to this epidemic."

If decreased worker density becomes mandatory, the industry will need to build new plants to meet demand. But building dozens or more new plants won't happen anytime soon. The biggest plants cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Even a slightly smaller plant can cost tens of millions of dollars.

That's why these same processing plants may just decide it's cheaper, safer, and more efficient to replace most of their workers in their existing facilities with computer software and hardware.

Even before the pandemic, the news was rife with stories about a coming wave of meat-plant automation. Automated meat processing has the ability to make safer the dangerous business of cutting up livestock. And automation is more efficient.

But these reports have only grown in number since the pandemic ripped through the nation's largest processing plants. Meat plants that are using artificial intelligence have seen "remarkable advancements" in productivity. And highly automated plants, unsurprisingly, have had far fewer Covid-19 outbreaks among workers.

Robots can't do everything humans can do in a processing plant yet. But they can perform some key processing and packaging tasks, VentureBeat reported in August, and they can also "scan, weigh, and measure carcasses to eviscerate them 'intelligently,' with the more sophisticated models planning blade trajectories for cutting, separating meat from carcasses and boning them out."

Hopes and fears that robots and other automated systems will replace meat-industry workers are no pipe dream. Consider, for example, that the push for a $15 minimum wage is spurring the fast-food industry to replace human workers with cheaper automation.

Third, if one or more of the Covid-19 vaccines are successful—as I hope they will be soon—then any rules the Biden administration might draft could become moot by the time they take force. That doesn't mean, mind you, that any such rules would be scrapped. That would leave meat processors to comply with rules that—even if, charitably, they made sense at the time they were adopted—are costly, overbearing, and outdated. Frankly, though, such a situation would make those rules almost exactly like a lot of other meat regulations.

I'm one of the many people who noted during the pandemic that no worker's life, at any point in a supply chain, is worth sacrificing for a hamburger. I stand by that. But are those same workers' jobs worth sacrificing?

NEXT: Pandemic Rules Are Only for the Little People 

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  2. https://www.theepochtimes.com/judge-republicans-will-likely-win-pennsylvania-election-lawsuit_3596477.html

    First the hearing, then this… Things are looking worse everyday for the corrupt people who turned the PA election into a shitshow

    Meanwhile Reason covers no actual news related to the election challenges. Just garbage opinion takes.. I don’t care if you want to think that Biden is president elect, election challenges are news and for anyone actually following these challenges…they are not harebrained conspiracy theories. They are legitimate lawsuits with substantial evidence of fraud.

    The media called Gore pres elect for several weeks too. It didn’t make it true. Reason, you are embarrassing.

    1. Old news, already stayed by the appeals court and will likely be dismissed if it has not already been. Same old problem, can not win without evidence. Courts don’t work that way.

      1. You didn’t read the article. The suit has nothing to do with evidence. Pennsylvania’s Act 77 which enabled mail in voting violated the commonwealth’s constitution. Changes in voting procedures require an amendment to the commonwealth’s constitution. To do that, they need to hold a referendum. That never happened.

        1. And what is the proposed remedy, throwing out the entire election? Throwing out all mail-in votes? Courts have addressed that too — they aren’t going to invalidate millions of votes.

          No matter how sound the legal arguments, they are a day late and a dollar short. Isn’t that the legal doctrine of laches, that you have to bring your challenges as soon as possible? I could be wrong about the doctrine’s name, but it’s a real thing. Your complaints have to be timely. The time for any complaint about a change in election laws / regulations was when the changes were made, before the election, not after when your guy has fallen behind. Is that what is going on here? I don’t know, but many of these fraud complaints smell of that.

          1. To add to your argument Act 77 was passed earlier in the year and used for other elections. The fact that it was used and results accepted for earlier elections without challenge will likely negate it use to stop the Presidential election.

            1. There it is — thanks. Memory sez what did in Gore in 2000 was challenging election results, and wanting a slow recount, only in a few districts, claiming there wasn’t time to recount the entire state. The Supreme Court said no dice — all or none. You don’t get to challenge just the ones you lost. All districts, or none. All elections, or none.

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          2. Doctrine of latches? So Brown v Board of Education is moot because Plessy v Ferguson was decided years ago and just accept it?

            1. What do those two cases have to do with each other?

              1. Good response. Wonder about that myself.

                I might add this is not really about reversing a decision because the courts are not even taking these cases for consideration. Most of the cases are simply dismissed on lack of evidence, standing, or procedure.

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            2. Wasn’t that an issue of stare decisis?

              Wouldn’t doctrine of latches apply if Oliver Brown had expressed satisfaction with his daughter’s education, then filed a suit when she got Fs on her report card?

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          3. They did challenge the changes when they were made. The supreme court under the wise direction of John Roberts decided to wait until after the election to decide.

            You are right. They will not be throwing the election out, no matter what they find. The fallout would be too great.

            There is zero question that Penn violated the letter of the law with their election process this time around. But there was zero question before the election when the courts were imposing rules in direct violation of the law as well. They ain’t going back and changing their minds now.

            I doubt we’ll see a detailed canvass in GA or WI either. Both would likely show problems in excess of the margin of victory. Nobody wants that result.

            1. They won’t throw out the election on the basis of that alone, but PA Republicans are now delaying certification and declaring the election in dispute based on all of the other problems. I have a glimmer of hope that this election isn’t decided yet.

            2. If I have the right numbers that’s about 10,000 ballots that are in question if the Supreme Court revisits the case.

            3. GA had a hand recount and Wisconsin recounted two counties filled with all those black people who don’t like Trump. What exactly do you want in a detailed canvass? Give some details, because if all you want is all Biden’s votes thrown out, I don’t think that will happen.

              1. Nobody did a recanvass. Recounting ballots that should never have been counted really misses the point.

                Which is why they have not done the recanvass. They really, really don’t want to open that can of worms.

                Prior elections showed that when an election was challenged and the signatures on mail in ballots were challenged, several percent were disqualified. It only takes two percent to throw these election outcomes in doubt. Doing a detailed audit of the mail ballots would almost inevitably result in more ballots being disqualified than the margin of victory.

                And then what? You can’t count them. You can’t not count them.

                You have a mess.

                Which is why the courts deserve our scorn for punting on the matter when it could have made a difference. Now, anything they do will make a mess, even doing the right thing. Maybe especially doing the right thing.

                1. What you are suggesting is to rescrutinize the ballots until you can find enough to throw out the election. The reality of what you are asking is that any election anywhere can be nitpicked to the point of calling it into question. I ask you do we really know that Mitch McConnell beat Amy McGrath, that Ernst beat Greenfield, that Graham beat Harrison, etc. Using your technique almost any election can be called into question.

                  I have also pointed out in other comments on this site that signatures are not a reliable tool for validation. It is what we have, it is what the law requires and for the most part the only standard we can apply is the signature there as required.

                  1. But I was assured repeatedly before the election that mail-in ballots couldn’t be fraudulent because the signatures were matched, and therefore there could not possibly be any problems with mail-in voting. Are you saying that a bunch of random Internet commenters *lied* to me?

                    1. Whether they lied to you depend on what you expected for a signature match? If you expected a signature expert to carefully authorize the signature then they lied. If you ( as I ) expect election officials to spend as much time checking it as the store clerk spends the signature on your check (again is it there) then they did not lie.

            4. Roberts forced trump to wait until an election. That is so all the democrat votes are counted and they cannot have more.

              Then the ScOTUS will toss mailin ballots by the millions and tell states to declare a winner based on remaining votes.

              5-4 Trump wins.

              The fallout already is massive. Either it s civil was by conservatives who wont see a fair and transparent election ever agin because of democrats or lefties will continue to riot and resist trumps second term.

              I wonder what thomas, barrett, alito, forsuch, and kavanugh would rather have.

          4. It was the opinion of Obama that mail in votes were invalid without a signature.

          5. this issue is one of dozens pending. And there IS the optioin of appeal out of the corrupt Pennsylvania courtsystem

            It ain’t over till its over. PA is one of at least hal f a dozen battleground states, and the info I’ve read (hard solid evidence) leads me to conclude that massive fraud WAS in play.

            When Pennsylvania mails out 1.7 million Absentee Ballots for voters to fill out and send back, and gets 2.3 million ballots returned, there is a dead fish rotting behind the fridge.
            When precincts have recorded votes totalling 110% of the number of eligible voters in that precinct, there is another dead mackeral hiding under the sofa. And on and on and on, if yuo care to LOOK for any of this.

            DOminion voting machines were carefully developed to “elect” people like Venezuela’s Chavez in landslide “elections”. They were DESIGNED to easily accomodate vote miscounts. When the server farm in Germany was seized, the machines taken for examination were found to have certain signs of massive meddling as the vote counts rolled in on election night.

            Fair? Don’t make me laugh.

          1. “The court criticized plaintiffs for filing the suit more than a year after universal mail-in voting was established in the state”

            So, it ended up being rejected for doctrine of latches.

          2. https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/1332877988845805569?s=21

            “The PA Supreme Court’s decision rests on what’s called an ‘adequate and independent state procedural ground,’ which the US Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to review. So it’s totally and irrevocably final.”

          3. Scotus is deciidng trump vs biden, not middle courts.

      2. Evidence? Trump lost! That’s proof of fraud right there!

        1. Time for your medicine.

          1. Poor sarc used to be near the medium on the IQ scale of these boards. Then he became broken, and now he’s barely coherent. He can still Orange Man Bad though, so he’s just going with that as his shtick.

    2. It was not a hearing. It was a Republican press conference, dressed up like a hearing.

      1. No evidence and then when they air over 3 hours worth of evidence you call it a press conference.

        Better check for what your next talking point is supposed to be, because people are going to jail over the evidence presented in the “press conference” and more

        1. Held by the GOP, in a hotel not at a government site, no Democrats present, no testimony sworn in, Trump calls in to rant for a while.

          Press conference. If it were a hearing it would be leading toward some next step of official government action.

          1. All important events take place at a government site.

            1. If only the founders had held their meetings at a crown building. …

              Socialists and monarchistst wouldnt have these pesky americans demanding fair elections free from fraud.

          2. Gosh, where did all your “both sides” rhetoric disappear to, ENB?

            1. What would be the “both sides” angle on a story about a 100% Republican mock hearing?

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    4. Things look like we will all be completely aware of the millions of fraudulent votes for Biden and the endless in person testimonies and constant breaking of law and Consitutions, State and National, and yet the corrupt idiot threatened doxxed and cancel cultured courts will blabber out lies like they have been for the past 20 years with increasing regularity and the criminals and partisan liars will scream it’s all setlled – only of course if it goes 100% their way to cover up their known crimes. Next, burn and shut down more city downtowns, or the entire USA again even unto small cities all boarded up, then proclaim the most peaceful protests ever as the fires burn the msm camera lenses.
      To imagine there is any pride still adherent for us real lifelong natural born US Citizens is to be really stretching it. We don’t want all of it to be true but the evidence is overwhelming and we saw the national head big shots go on a 4 year insane muh Russia rant claiming evidence was everywhere…
      So we all know what this really is – the vile liars and their endless cacophony, guilty on all counts, and never will justice be served by law enforcement in the USA.

  3. The meat packing industry like many industries will need to consider pandemics in the future. The Covid19 pandemic can not be looked at as a one off incident. Rather than regulations I would like to see plants plan for a similar incident in the future. The trick here might be to better recognize when a problem develops and to adjust more quickly. We heard that plants tried to maintain output which eventually resulted in shut downs. Better to adjust, accept a lower output be be able to maintain that out put. I also suspect that more automation will occur, this is a natural process. Regulation may hasten automation but are unlikely to end it. A food plant in my city, Madison, closed a few years ago and the operation was moving to a new plant in Iowa. What was notable was the Madison plant employed over 1000 people and the new plant would only be about 500. Automation is a feature of life.

    1. Hint- they won’t. No business will consider it in the future. If Trump hadn’t been an idiot and laid off the pandemic response team and hamfisted his way through this whole thing, it wouldn’t have even been as bad.

      Assume a somewhat competent response by a future admin during a pandemic and the likelihood that you now have experience in making coronavirus vaccines (not done before now) and the cost/benefit makes absolutely no sense to plan for it.

      1. Hint — the several post-World War II pandemics, which affected more people per capita than this one, didn’t have these problems.

        End the damned lockdowns. They are the disruption, not the pandemic.

        1. The meat packing plants he’s referring to shut down because a significant portion of their workforce was infected. This is a perfect example of reactionary yelling about lockdowns being off mark.

          https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/07/828873225/meat-processing-plants-suspend-operations-after-workers-fall-ill

          This has been my point to the fatalists and superstitious cranks around here who insist that any precautions were both unnecessary and ineffective and that lockdowns were only the fault of tyrannical dem governors (gop governors doing the same thing in the face of filling hospitals are just dems in disguise).

          You can’t just ignore covid. De facto lockdowns happen even in the absence of government mandates eventually.

          1. And how many meat plant workers were infected in those previous pandemics which had no lockdowns?

            This is a fantastic example of why the lockdowns have been unnecessary and counter-productive.

            1. But most people (and media) were not such pussies then.

          2. “…De facto lockdowns happen even in the absence of government mandates eventually.”

            First, lefty assertions =/= evidence or argument.
            And if true, that means there is no need for mandated lockdowns.
            Two strikes, go ahead and swing again.

          3. “Meat packing plant” was kamala’s nickname in college.

          4. The article cites one Tyson plant with perhaps two dozen infected, and one with just several persons infected.
            So once again we have overblown hysteria, exaggerations, and declarations above and beyond circumstances.
            No lockdowns have happened without defacto government hair on fire screeding and a worldwide and national rambo on rhoids response not to mention the Trump hating media machines that love to hate and profit greatly from people stuck at home watching or flooding social media and it’s advertisers with dollars.
            So you’re not actually being accurate.

            1. There were nation wide shortages of poultry and meat. It was a widespread issue.

              Look at how each of you came up with your own unique but nonsensical way to dismiss the shutting of meat packing plants that was caused by the actual effects of covid, rather than government. I love how the trumpies twist and sputter when they don’t have a talking point to parrot.

              https://www.google.com/amp/s/fortune.com/2020/04/28/us-meat-shortage-coronavirus-boneless-chicken/amp/

              1. chickens naturally have bones. WHO buys them without? I never had any problem buying chicken, pork , beef.. except that the prices went through the moon on beef, because of panic responses to the possibilities brought round by the panicdemonic. Growers scaled back production in fear of being stuck with massive inventory and losing their shirts AND shoes. Chicken and pork, both relatively short term production spans, were plentiful and reasonably priced…. the biggest problem with supply was panic buying. When I see two carts pushed by the same family up to checkout, and dozens of packages of meats piled in one of them, the other overflowing with more food, that’s panic buying.

                Was toilet paper production ever compromised? Nope. Same output had been going for years. Panic buying, because the lamestream news told everyone to buy toiet pape,r bottled water, and canned beans.. guess what was in EVERY cart but mine in checkout for close to a month? Store limited those purchases to four cases…..every cart had four cases. Crazy. THAT is why chicken and pork had increased pricing.

      2. You do realize that no matter what government might have done differently, the end result will be the same…everyone will get this.

        Well, nothing we’d accept like say brutal, everyone stay home house arrest orders(no groceries, no doctor visits, no going to work to maintain the power grid)

        1. Not true, fatalist kook.

          1. Yes true, statist slaver.

            1. No, it isn’t. And all of the kooks are forgetting their citations again.

          2. Do you not remember “flatten the curve”? Do you not understand that vaccines provide the same effect of “getting this”? Do you not understand that “everyone getting this” is ordinary everyday faux-hyperbole for herd immunity?

            What do you think is going to stop this, if not “everybody gets it”?

            1. Look, if everyone just locked themselves in a closet for 21 days… all at the same time… the virus would die out. All we have to do is coordinate a 21 day timeout with the entire planet. Anyone outdoors shot on sight. Problem solved.

              Oh, wait. The marksmen would have to be out and about. So we’ll need drone killbots to enforce the quarantine.

              There… problem solved.

              1. DOL does fantasize about mowing down civilians with an Apache Helicopter. He probably did when he was in the National Guard.

                1. You are confusing The Running Man with reality.

                2. Funny how you don’t notice nardz, jack whatever, and the others actually making deadly threats, but when I tell them the likely outcome is going to be them at the wrong end of actual military hardware, you are right on time with the pearl clutching.

                  Color me unconvinced by your little act.

                  1. If you think I’m pearl clutching you’re dumber than I thought.

                  2. You’re mighty angry for someone who’s won.

                    1. He hasn’t won shit, despite his preferred candidate becoming president. He’s still a lefty loser who rails for government control of healthcare because he’s morbidly obese and can’t take care of himself (he admitted he’s fat). And regardless of how he justifies it, his fantasies about mowing down civilians with an Apache helicopter proves what a sociopath he is. Which I already suspected based on how easily he lies about everything.

                    2. I have no idea who you’re talking about, and at this point i don’t think you know either.

                      I want a return of pre ww2 healthcare market, and odds are I’m in better shape than you’ve ever been.

                3. He never served. He’s Jeffy.

            2. Vaccines?

            3. when total deaths from all causes in the US are stable over the last few years, in other words, no increase of deaths nationside so far this year cmpared to the last three or four, I don’t care if this thing “gets stopped” or not. It is no mor dangerous than seasonal flu, numbers wise. I’ve never gotten a flu shot, and will NOT get a covid shot. Nor have I ever gotten any of the seasonal flue, either. And I happen to fall into two of the “high risk” groups, statistically.
              Eat right, take a few cheap normal supplements, stay active, stop worrying, refuse to wear a mug nappie everywhere (or in my case, anywhere.. I just won’t) and this virus won’t affect you much even if you DO happen to snag it on your way to somewhere else.

              Anyone else remember ebola, H1N1, H5 N1, Zika, Lymes, Swine Flu, AIDS, and a few others so insignificant I’ve forgotten them, but ALL of which were certain to take out half the population before they were done with us? I knew since last December this was a big fat nothingburger, would lead to all manner of insane reactions, restrictioins, panic, craziness, etc before it was over, and instad of the 2.2 million deaths in the US this year (deaths IN ADDITION to all the normal “other” deaths we already always get) we ended up with a small fraction of that number, IF you subtract all the deaths to OTHER causes that were counted as “covid deaths” falsely.

              Smoke and mirrors.. smoke and mirrors. Don’t bite.

      3. “…If Trump hadn’t been an idiot and laid off the pandemic response team and hamfisted his way through this whole thing, it wouldn’t have even been as bad…”

        You.
        Are.
        STILL.
        Full.
        Of.
        Shit.

        1. Unbridled anger. Good good! Let it flow through you!

          1. Yes, to the WKs of the world, pointing out that a lefty is full of shit is “unbridled anger”.
            I’d say such added bullshit is evidence of unbridled stupidity, doncha’ think?
            But the WK’s of the world are stupid that way, among many, many others.

            1. Excellent! All part of your transformation into a Trith Lord!

              1. “Trith Lord!”

                Another stupid phrase coined by Dee. Hey Dee, you cunt, remind me who coined the acronym cacl? That was genius.

                1. It’s CACLL. You are just envious.

            2. Careful! Words are now violence, and WK might file an assault by inter webs complaint.

              1. Don’t worry, Sevo. No lawsuits from me. Keep on being the anger-filled you we know and love!

                1. Don’t worry, WK, I’ll keep calling lefty bullshit every time I see it, and you are more than welcome to your fantasies regarding my emotions; we see it regularly from you.

                2. And you keep being the disingenuous weasel whose sole purpose here is gaslighting the comments, WK.

      4. There’s no reason to believe that any other administration would have done any better. Governments are by and large incompetent in their response to anything. Months ago everyone said the US response was completely wrong and Europe had done a much better job. Yet here we are with a death rate similar to many European countries. Sure, some will say: “but more dead bodies!” but that kinda comes with having a larger source of living bodies.

        Essentially we hit par on this course as did a whole bunch of other largely free societies. Any speculation that Hillary would have done better is just the kind of pointless navel-gazing with no basis in fact which keeps the childish political factions from actually communicating and working together to do better. No doubt Biden will come in with a much heavier hand and achieve an outcome that will largely be very near par.

        I’m sure for some that Trump will somehow be to blame for the death rates in places like the UK, Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium. Yup, they say those countries must have screwed it up because “orange man, bad!” For those folks I have an homage to the ’90s – talk to the hand.

        1. Sweden never locked down and didn’t mask mandate and just protected vulnerable – never closed schools – and they did wonderful and are doing better than everyone else now.
          Don’t let that gigantic data point slip by unnoticed.

          1. Sweden has had 660 deaths per million population, 24th worst in the world. So not so great, but not the worst. (USA 821, 9th worst)

    2. That’s a real good idea. You should do that with your meatpacking plant and let us know how that works out for you. Otherwise, I’d suggest a little basic humility might suggest the people who actually own meatpacking plants might know more about the business than you do.

      1. Oh hell no! Central planners know everything, see everything, understand everything. What kind of bizarro libertarian world do you live in, buster?!?

        1. Shorter Masturbation4ever: “t0p mEn!!!”

    3. “…in my city, Madison,..”

      That explains a lot.

      1. Yeah. It’s a smurf city – all blue mental midgets.

    4. oh don’t worry, our all knowing state governors are preparing for the next pandemic, now that they know what they can get away with.

  4. Actually, Biden will eliminate the most damaging regulation affecting the meatpacking industry — Drumpf’s draconian immigration policies that prevent the constant influx of labor.

    #OpenBordersWillFixEverything
    #ImmigrationAboveAll

    1. Good point. Just remember when you eat that steak, pork chop or chicken wing to thank an immigrant.

      1. Upton Sinclair said that taco meat tastes like a ground Mexican. As someone opposed to cannibalism and the consumption of non-Kosher foods, I cannot confirm his statement.

      2. Yes, because who better than immigrants to be unaware of their rights in the workplace? Gotta cut corners somehow.

      3. Thank that illegal for working a 12 hour day for $20 cash and a packet of dry ramen.

        1. As long as they agreed voluntarily, who are we to question their priorities?

  5. Serious question: has any actual study determined that virus spread occurred inside the processing plants?

    Yes, those people work in close quarters. But how many also live and socialize in equally close quarters, with multiple generations? How many attend churches or recreate in the same small tight community? Back in early spring (or late winter), how many of these people–especially those from warmer climates–huddled indoors, more closed-in than at work? How many poor people carpool, prepare meals for family and extra-family groups, and otherwise share by gathering together? In essence, how many of the people who worked closely together spent even more time together outside work?

    1. All interesting speculations. I’m told that many people don’t think chicom-19 is spread by aerosols. What do such people think spreads the virus?

      1. It’s a dem hoax. It will go away in April, like a dream…

      2. Initially health experts said it was primarily spread through contact and via surfaces. Remember the hoards of people wiping things down? Remember how it lives on surfaces for 7 days? 5 days? 14 days? 3 days? 10 – 12 hours? Or spread by surfaces doesn’t really happen?

        Then they said droplets, but not fine particles. Then…

        There was also the back and forth about masks (which continues to be debated in the literature).

        They’ve kinda been all over the map figuring this one out. So people who are not science experts can be forgiven for getting confused.

      3. I’m told lefty shits change the subject when confronted with information they don’t like.

        1. Science!

  6. Or equip the workers with breathing apparatus.

    1. 24/7?

    2. or automate everything. solves the minimum wage problem too.

      1. Until the robots unionize. Which has been everybody’s cartoon for the past century.

    3. Like a mask?

  7. Ya gotta starve the deplorables a bit to soften them up. Fortunately we can fish and hunt and left wingers can’t. City pussies.

    1. My dad grew up poor in the Mississippi river area of the south in the post great depression era. This is an area that still hasn’t fully recovered from the great depression. Lots of poor folks.

      They had to hunt for meat, if they were to have it. So dad carried his double barrel 4-10 with a .22 lr under to school every day. He’d hunt rabbit, squirrel.. whatever small game happened along his path home. And that was the meat supply for the family. 11 sisters and 1 brother. The two boys brought home small game sporadically.

      And this is why my dad never hunted after he gained success. He viewed it exactly as you might view eating scraps like chicken feet. That’s what poor people do because they have to.

      There are not many people alive who remember what that was like. Hopefully there are enough who learned from their family like I did. Because there’s no way people with that family knowledge would allow them to damage the food supply chain like this.

    2. Yep, if the country ever divided along those urban-rural party lines, only one group could survive without the other.

  8. Reality is crossing into Poe’s Law.

  9. Owlgore’s disciples believe that meat production is killing the planet, so a paranoid person could see this as a step towards artificially increasing the price of meat to discourage consumption and save the planet. Which is totally different in principle from Trump artificially increasing the price of imports to save domestic industry.

  10. Dems don’t care if they make food more expensive so more Americans have to struggle to feed our families. They only care about rich people and optimizing government Covid spreadsheet numbers.

    1. More to the point, the mentality is that given an adequate “safety net”, making food more expensive is not a problem. You simply subsidize more people.

      The problem, of course, is not just that people get crushed by these policies, but also that the short term result is massive numbers of hungry people as the system adjusts. It could withstand perturbations… probably… but cutting the entire meat packing industry by, what – 60%? 80% in the short term – means complete disaster for middle class and working families. Fast food goes under. Staple foods that are not meat skyrocket in price because supply is inelastic in the short term, and demand will shift to these commodities.

      The whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen.

      1. Fine points Cyto and I’d further say the goons carry it out to the nth degree and thus destroy entire nations with their raging control freakism special privileges while “saving the planet” “opposing nazi Trump white supremacists” and “enriching their control plane peers and families and friends” and of course “redirecting the fallout to blame their opponents” when it all comes crashing down.

    2. “Dems don’t care if they make food more expensive so more Americans have to struggle to feed our families…”

      It’s worse than that:
      “…Feeney: Do you believe that food should cost more?

      Waters: I do feel like food should cost more, because we aren’t paying farmers a living wage. It has to cost more…”
      https://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/the-daily-need/alice-waters-says-that-food-should-cost-more-but-be-free-to-school-children/4507/

      1. Just like Obama said about electricity and coal and gasoline … it’s like what kind of stupid idiots are these people ?
        Progress is all about more for less. Real human progress. George Jetson futures await mankind, and this idea of crushing progress in the name of some lefty cause or control freaking is really disturbing.

      2. And he missed the entire point, when you throttle processing to drive up prices, the farmer and ranchers get payed less because we have lesser demand for our raw products, while maintaining an oversupply. My friend sold his calves two weeks ago, we were discussing how pricing was better than we expected because we were sure more lockdowns were coming and last time calf prices plummeted. Prices were lower than last year but still much higher than we expected. Who knows what will happen if we do shut down again? We know, prices will plummet and or the feedlots will stop buying. Just like they did in the spring.

  11. At the beginning of this whole pandemic thing we saw some kinks in the food supply chain. Throwing restaurants out of the loop really screwed some things up.

    Things seem to have settled down. But the warning shot made clear… do not screw with the food supply.

    I cannot imagine what they are thinking here. You shut down meat production – or rather severely limit it – and the entire food supply chain gets disrupted. Thousands of farmers are stuck with unsaleable livestock. Do they keep feeding them indefinitely? Do they make a mass grave and kill them off?

    What does that do to the rest of the food supply? Meat prices would skyrocket instantly, so my family would move to vegetarian sources. But so would 300 million of my fellow Americans. Then what? Where does all of this come from? It takes many months to ramp up food production at the farm, and that presumes that you have the handling, storage and transport to market for the nonstandard volume.

    You wanna see riots? Let the shelves be empty of food instead of toilet paper and cleaning products. We can make a go of it for a brief time without toilet paper. Food shortages? Yeah, not so much.

    1. The unseen is always there. Politicians try to hide it, but because it is unseen by them, they don’t know what to hide, so hide everything, and still miss it.

      1. Do you doubt the amazing intellect of Governor Cuomo?

        1. Maybe he can turn the old people he killed into jerky!

      2. There is no un(fore)seen! With the right Top Men in charge, government planning can miraculously foretell crop yields, consumer preferences, and resource allocation, not to mention distribution and prices.

    2. I gave up toilet paper years ago for environmental reasons.

      1. That’s one hand washing the other.

      2. It was your duty. Unless you’re a sissy.

    3. When it became news how the Bureau of Land Management was crushing cattle farmers – and the numbers went far beyond the Bundy’s – that’s when meat prices started skyrocketing here. So the government should already understand their actions have had dire consequences in this area already.
      You’d think they really wouldn’t crush it so bad, but this covid 19 has given them every excuse in the book to do so, and after seeing the Trump hatred and what lies and shenanigans came from that for years on end, in all our faces, absolute lies and government attacks on thousands of innocent people… I frankly do not put it past them anymore.

  12. “That’s why these same processing plants may just decide it’s cheaper, safer, and more efficient to replace most of their workers in their existing facilities with computer software and hardware.”

    It would be far more rational and responsible for these same processing plants to primarily hire people who have already had covid (as they are immune from contracting or spreading for the foreseeable future).

    Processing plants could give hiring bonuses and higher pay to those who have already had a positive covid test, as well as to those who test positive via an antigen test (that indicates a past covid infection).

    Since more >10% of North Dakotans have tested positive for covid (and >5% of people in 14 states have tested positive), and since many studies have found that 3-10 times more Americans have been infected than have tested positive, it is very likely that 20%-40% of American adults have already been infected.

    So there is huge workforce of already immune Americans who can work jobs that require close contact with others (and many other jobs).

    herd immunity many counties (and states

    1. And then train all new workers. A quick solution fer shure.

    2. In contrast to Ron Bailey’s ongoing assertions, it appears that herd immunity is close to being a reality in increasingly more workplaces, communities, counties and states.

      1. It looks like New York city is finally trending upward with a second wave the last couple of weeks. Still relatively small… but that is relative to the worst outbreak in the west.

      2. They will come up with a new excuse and line and study and “science” and claim herd immunity is not a thing with covid 19 – wait and see, it’s coming, they’ve been leaking and prepping it… I have absolutely no doubt they will do the Devil’s will no matter what.

      3. Godshall, I’m not sure what data are telling you that. The herd immunity threshold is not known, nor is the fraction of infected people. It’s all guesses so far.

        Every time a person is infected or vaccinated we get closer to herd immunity.

  13. It’s no good urging Biden to think twice, he’s not going to remember thinking the first time anyway.

  14. Another libertarian solution to covid is for governors and legislatures to officially recognize (and exempt from lockdowns, social distancing and mask mandates) those who are already immune to covid (i.e. those who have previously tested positive and recovered).

    If everyone who works for an employer has already had covid, there is zero chance that any of them will contract or spread it in the future.

    Similarly, if 50,000 football fans (who have already tested positive for covid) pack a football stadium without wearing masks, there is zero chance that any new transmissions can occur.

    And since herd immunity will likely be attained when 70% have contracted the virus, there is little likelihood of infections increasing if even 70% of employees (or 70% of customers in a bar, or 70% of spectators at a football game) have tested positive.

    Government officials should allow/encourage employers and business owners to exempt already immune employees, job seekers and customers (i.e. who have already tested positive) from being required to comply with economically disastrous and unconstitutional covid mandates.

    1. And a pony. Don’t forget to ask for a pony too.

    2. Fuck that. Your discriminating again people based solely on not having previously been sick. This is one of the fucking stupidest ideas going around.

      1. Discriminating against those who are sick (and/or those at high risk) is precisely how nations and states have implemented quarantines for the past five centuries.

        But all that changed in 2020.

      2. So what? I wonder if the virus discriminates against people who have not been sick with it before.

        1. No. But people who have had the ‘vid discriminate against the virus….

      3. I recall when AIDS came upon us and some in the “scientific community” proposed forced (if necessary) isolation of positives (aka TB sanatariums) in the only two places (at the time) where cases were skyrocketing (Miami and NYC), resulting in their public crucifixion from the woke and homosexual communities, allowing the disease to go viral.

    3. They could have official armbands with a yellow C+ on it. Of course some counterfeit armbands will crop up. Maybe it would have some kind of chip.

      I could just see the crowd at the ballgame proudly displaying their yellow armbands.

  15. So a robot is going to see small , or maybe large difference in a side of beef, pork or a chicken?

    1. I’m sure the guys programming the machine will have taken all of that into account.

    2. Some kind of imaging device would do it. Like those scanners they have in airports.

    3. probably better than minimum wage workers do

  16. “Joe Biden Should Think Twice About Cracking Down on Meat-Processing Plants”

    Reason’s favorite uninaugurated president can barely have a first thought, much less remember it to have a second.

  17. It long past time for the food industry from farm to consumer to be put under much stronger regulations. Just think of the lives that could be saved if there were stronger regulations controlling how food is handled from beginning to right up to the time of consumption!

    1. Not sure where you live but if /when I send a steer(s) to the processor I am able to consume that beef as I will. I cannot, however, sell that beef to a third party unless it is FDA certified. That consists of an FDA rep gazing at my butchered carcass and stamping it twice with a blue certification, and collecting a fat $200/carcass for his trouble, elevating the cost to a point that I cannot price the cuts for any profit. His cursory glance insures him that there are no tumors or obvious infected areas on the carcass, conditions that are quite rare in today’s livestock produced within the USA. He makes no test for steroids, antibiotics or growth hormones. To eliminate this bureaucracy I sell my animals on the hoof, delivered to the processor, where the customer(s) instructs the processor how he wants it cut. Same beef, same consumers. It simply prevents the small beef operator from competing with the large processors (who btw accept as much beef from Mexico, Canada and (blanche) Argentina. Enjoy your Big Macs and embrace your gubmint regulators.

    2. Fuck off slaver

  18. Good…
    Your article are always helpful …i like ur blog Fb Status in Hindi

  19. Joe Biden Should Think Twice About Cracking Down on Meat-Processing Plants

    FTFY

  20. This is just wonderful. The libbies can get meat prices so skyrocketed we commoners will have to forgo meat and eats bugs, processed lab tofu gematria whatever it is fake meat “miracle burgers”, and go full vegan…
    Gee, there is no conspiracy nor agenda………
    Oh wait, that’s right, the biggest global warming demon is cows and other meat animals passing gasses like methane… so DESTROY all the meat packing plants (filled with illegal aliens)… SAVE THE EARTH !!! SAVE HUMANITY FROM GLOBAL EXTINCTION !!!”
    If anyone can’t stand idiots like Biden anymore, keep at, you’re normal.

  21. I recall when AIDS came upon us and some in the “scientific community” proposed forced (if necessary) isolation of positives (aka TB sanatariums) in the only two places (at the time) where cases were skyrocketing (Miami and NYC), resulting in their public crucifixion from the woke and homosexual communities, allowing the disease to go viral.
    al-baha

  22. Joe Biden can’t eat meat he just puts it in a blender. With his geritol and bananas.

    1. His nurse puts it in the blender.

      1. I’ll bet her hair smells good

    2. First I am not sure why Reason thinks Biden is capable of thinking. It is his handlers.

  23. Joe Biden is my favourite politician..

    Regards:

    https://whatsfunda.com/

  24. “Requiring meatpackers to pandemic-proof their facilities will have unintended consequences.”

    Not one of those consequences would be unintended.
    Go read the democratic party platform.

  25. Joe Biden Should Think

    I see the problem.

  26. All of them need some help from time to time and to order an essay when they need to. https://grademiners.com/

  27. “Joe Biden Should Think Twice About Cracking Down on Meat-Processing Plants”
    The liberals want everyone on a plant based diet. This is nothing new.

  28. in a free market system, I am sure the meat processing companies will be willing to pay Pfizer or Moderna or a third company for early access to the vaccine. But I seriously doubt the committee on vaccine allocation will give them priority .

  29. These complaints (“it’ll cost too much!”, “they’re just poor people, why should we care about them?”, “employee safety is an unfair imposition on our rights!”) aren’t meaningfully different from the complaints we hear every time worker rights and safety are expanded.

    So I’ll have to beg pardon, but given the popularity of meat, I’m sure someone will figure out how to make it profitable.

    Or, to put it another way… if you can’t figure out how to sell meat without killing your employees, then you deserve to lose your job to someone that can.

  30. Requiring meatpackers to pandemic-proof their facilities will have unintended consequences.

    don’t be fooled. Sleepy Joe KNOWS full well what the consequences will be He is after bigger fish… America on her knees from all the results of the harsh illegal unnecessary ineffective crackdowns and Biden likes us taht way. We’re far more easily controlled and subdued that way.

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