KULR8: Letter from U.S. senators calls for DOJ investigation into cattle market

Twenty-eight U.S. Senators, including Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester, wrote a letter requesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the meatpacking industry to determine if antitrust violations exist.

In the letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, members ask the DOJ to take action in examining the behavior of the four large meatpacking companies-two of which are foreign-owned-that control over 80% of the meat processing market.

“From our perspective, the anticompetitive practices occurring in the industry today are unambiguous and either our antitrust laws are not being enforced or they are not capable of addressing the apparent oligopoly that so plainly exists,” the members wrote.

Sen. Rounds said that the nationwide effort he started to address meatpacker concentration will continue far beyond this letter.

“We’ve seen tremendous grassroots support from across the ideological spectrum and across the nation for addressing meatpacker concentration issues,” Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said. “Our letter to the attorney general is just one step in our effort to restore competition in the marketplace for cattlemen and make certain consumers are offered high-quality beef at an affordable price. The Justice Department needs to take a serious look into the meatpacking industry, and if they cannot, Congress needs to pass reforms that protect a fair and open cattle market. For far too long, independent cattle producers have been forced out of the business while meatpackers continue to profit at the expense of the American consumer. This cannot continue. We will continue to raise awareness about this issue and take steps to protect the domestic supply of live cattle that is critical to America’s economic and national security.”

“For far too long, cattle producers and consumers have been hurt by the increasing concentration of market power and anti-competitive actions of just a few meatpacking companies,” Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said. “Their collective power over the beef processing industry allows them to seemingly control prices at their will. Meanwhile, cattle producers are making pennies on the dollar and consumers are paying an over-inflated premium on beef. The Department of Justice ought to examine whether meatpacking companies are violating antitrust laws and principals of fair competition.”

The letter was also signed by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Angus King (I-Maine), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Catherine Cortez Masto (R-Nev.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), and Bob Good (R-Va.).