Economics and Business News

 The United States (US) is now dizzy. The country is threatened with a 'pig apocalypse'.



This happened due to the price of pork in the country which experienced a sharp increase. Not only because of the supply chain and inflation triggered by the pandemic but also the new animal welfare laws in Uncle Sam. At least that's the law in the state of California. It is the largest pork market in the US.

From January 1, pork products must comply with special standards regarding the sow. The sows should each be given adequate space, at least 24 square feet in the pen.

Manufacturers have warned this will add additional costs across the food supply chain. Which in the end makes the citizens of California and other parts of the US have less stock and of course at a higher price.

"Some believe the pork supply chain is teetering on the brink of a major threat," CNN International wrote.

"'California's Biggest Bacon Crisis' could mean the end of the Bacon that brought the 'Pork Apocalypse' or make the breakfast staple disappear from Californian tables."

According to some economists, the increase is undeniable. The price of pork could go up by around US$ 8 (around Rp. 112 thousand) for the purchase of meat on an annual basis.

"In general, there's going to be a long-term impact from this, no matter what," said Trey Malone, assistant professor in Michigan State University's Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics.

"This is something the entire agricultural industry is concerned about."

Previously, pregnant sows were only kept in cages measuring 7 by 2 feet. This cage can provide space for the sow to eat, stand, sit, and lie down.

But pigs have no space to walk, move freely, socialize, and turn around. This is considered cruel.

"Some pork producers won't let sows turn around," said Josh Balk, vice president of farm animal protection for the US Humane Society.

"Everything goes back to that point and frankly, Americans think that's a barbaric way of treating them."

This law does not only apply in California but also in other areas such as Massachusetts. This law also relates to other livestock such as laying hens.

The difference, however, is that the US pork industry is said to be unprepared. According to Rabobank agribusiness analyst, Christine McCracken, the preparedness of the pork industry is no more than 5%.

style="text-align: justify;">"High construction costs, labor constraints, and lack of visibility around final rules all contributed to the industry's minimal response," McCracken said.

"Many in the industry speculated that, like Massachusetts, there would be a last-minute attempt to delay the rollout of regulations," he said again, citing how similar laws were knocked out in Massachusetts.

The same is also supported by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The regulatory period is too short, which makes the industry unable to prepare properly.

Meanwhile, an agricultural economist from the University of Michigan Trey Malone predicts this rule will hit low-income Americans. This, he said, had implications for the limited access to nutrition for residents.

"What's happening is we're trying to limit the lower-cost options," Malone said.

"It's the poor who are most likely to be affected by this policy." It can be said that this is worse than Covid-19 because it involves people's favorite food ingredients.

This phenomenon is an increase in the price of pork is predicted to increase. That's because of disrupted supply chains and inflation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. This problem is further exacerbated by the issuance of law regarding special standards for new sows made in California, the state that consumes the most pigs. Pregnant sows should be given adequate space, at least 24 square feet in the pen. Previously pregnant sows were only housed in a 7 by 2-foot pen. This cage can provide room for the sow to eat, stand, sit, and lie down. However, pregnant sows do not have room to walk, move freely, socialize, and turn around. It's considered cruel. "Some pork producers won't let sows turn around," said Josh Balk, vice president of Livestock Protection for the U.S. Humane Society.

"Everything goes back to that point and frankly, Americans think that's a barbaric way to treat them." But the existence of this Act makes the supply of pigs scarce. Some residents have even used the phrase 'apocalypse pigs' to describe how the staple food for the majority of Americans, bacon, will disappear from their dinner tables.

This is due to the unpreparedness of the pig industry for this regulation. Their readiness is not more than 5%.

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