The New Meat Monopoly: The Animal, The Farmer, and You in the New Age of Global Giants


A generation ago, the business of raising animals for food in America looked much like it had at the Founding – family farms, open and competitive markets, high standards, and a self sustaining national economy. Today, vast corporations rule almost every corner of the animal agriculture landscape, and these giants are increasingly controlled from foreign capitals. Some economists argue in favor of this new order of things, mainly claiming it is more “efficient.” But there’s also growing evidence that this top-down system can harm the well being of animals, the farmer, and the eater. Join New America’s Markets and Resiliency Program in an open discussion of the pros and cons of America’s new industrial meat system, and of cutting edge efforts to reform the worst practices.

During the morning, Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, will discuss his organization’s brand new alliance with family farmers, which has the potential to entirely transform the politics of animal agriculture in America. Also, Christopher Leonard, author of the new book The Meat Racket, will head a discussion of the little-known but fast-growing and highly disturbing practice in which local monopolists pit farmers against one another in “Tournaments.” Leonard’s book, the first detailed look in a generation at concentration in animal agriculture, is fast on its way to becoming a best seller, thanks to recent boosts from The New York TimesBill Maher, and NPR’s Morning Edition.

Join the conversation online by using #MeatMonopoly and by following @NewAmerica.  

Thursday, March 13, 2014 – 9:30am – 1:15pm


9:30 am            
How Consolidation Affects the EATER 
Food Safety, Country of Origin Labeling, Pricing and The Beef TaxFeatured Speakers:
Dudley Butler
Former Director of the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration

Siddhartha Mahanta
Policy Analyst, New America
Author of “Big Beef,” in the Washington Monthly, January 2014

Patrick Woodall
Research Director, Food & Water Watch

Dean Gold
Former VP of Procurement for Whole Foods,
Owner of Dino’s Grotto restaurant, in Washington, DC.
Kimberly Kindy
Food safety reporter, The Washington Post
10:30 am        

How Consolidation Affects the ANIMAL 
Animal Welfare: Does Farm Size Matter?

Featured Speakers:
Mike Callicrate
Rancher, Colorado

Mardy Townsend
Rancher, Ohio

C. Robert Taylor
Alfa Eminent Scholar and Professor of Agricultural Policy, Auburn University

Andrew Gunther
Director, Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)
Former VP of Procurement for Whole Foods

Paul Glastris
Editor, Washington Monthly

11:30 am        

The Humane Society’s New Alliance with Family Farmers

Wayne Pacelle
President, Humane Society of the United States

11:45 am        

How Consolidation Affects the FARMER 
The End of Markets and the Rise of Farmer vs. Farmer “Tournaments”

Featured Speakers:
Mike Weaver
Chicken farmer, West Virginia

Renee L. Bowser
Assistant General Counsel, United Food Commercial Workers

Christopher Leonard
New America Fellow
Author, The Meat Racket (Simon & Schuster 2014)

Albert Foer
President, the American Antitrust Institute

Katherine Mangu-Ward
Future Tense Fellow, New America
Managing Editor, Reason Magazine

 12:45 pm        Lunch will be served.