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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Meat Institute (AMI) here launched a new Web site that details AMI's opposition to legislative efforts to prevent meat companies from owning or contracting for livestock.
Among the highlights of the new site is information pertaining to a number of bills that have been introduced in Congress that would force divestiture of livestock by meat companies who own part or all of their livestock supplies; prohibit marketing agreements between packers and processors; require that a certain percent of livestock be acquired on the spot market; and create a special duplicative prosecutor at USDA to look even more closely at these issues.
AMI said some groups and lawmakers are arguing for a "competition title" in the pending 2007 Farm Bill that would package these bills together.
"Legislative efforts to place restrictions on the marketing of livestock and meat will dismantle the progress that has created the most abundant and affordable meat supply anywhere in the world," said AMI president J. Patrick Boyle. "Congress needs to let the market work as it has so successfully for so long. We are launching this new web site to help educate lawmakers, producers, consumers and the media about the potential damaging effect of these misguided legislative efforts."
Included in the new site are 35 studies done over the last two decades that have concluded that the meat industry is dynamic and competitive and that both packers and producers benefit from their ability to enter into contracts. The site also includes:
* Select quotes from key studies of industry structure and marketing practices
* Important charts detailing the facts about U.S. meat production, industry structure, affordability and retail prices.
* A guide to expert economists who have studied the U.S. meat industry
* Testimony, articles, op-eds and other important reading on the subject
* Select quotes from those who advocate market interference
* Editorial cartoons about the issues
* A grassroots center to write to Congress
* A backgrounder on why and how the marketplace has influenced the meat and poultry industry's structure.
"Americans spend less of their disposable income on meat and poultry than any other nation in the world," Boyle said. "We cannot allow a band of vocal protectionists to go unchallenged in their efforts to turn the clock back by persuading Congress to pass a package of harmful laws."
The Web site was developed in-house by AMI's public affairs, legislative affairs and graphics teams and was announced on Tuesday in a Roll Call ad that likens efforts to ban meat companies' ability to own livestock to a law that bans grape-growers from making wine.