Smithfield Foods has been trying to scare us away from restricting its activities at its coronavirus-riddled Sioux Falls plant by warning that any disruption of its vital activities could lead to a meat shortage. Yet even as they lobbied for an executive order from the White House to immunize their facilities from state shutdown orders, Smithfield and other mega-meatmongers have been shipping more pork to China:
Smithfield, which China’s WH Group bought for $4.7 billion in 2013, was the biggest U.S. exporter to China from January to March, according to Panjiva, a division of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Smithfield shipped at least 13,680 tonnes by sea in March, Panjiva said, citing its most recent data.
Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork processor, said in April that U.S. plant closures were pushing retailers “perilously close to the edge” on supplies [Kristin Hergert, “As U.S. Meat Workers Fall Sick and Supplies Dwindle, Exports to China Soar,” Reuters via KELO Radio, 2020.05.11].
Our Dear Leader might be able to make a case for ordering American workers to slaughter if their dangerous labors were serving our national survival. But if workers are sacrificing for China’s gain…
Trump is facing criticism from lawmakers, consumers and workers for putting plant employees at risk — in part to guarantee China’s meat supply.
“That tragic outcome is all the worse when the food being processed is not going to our nation’s families,” U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat who chairs a House panel that oversees federal spending on health programs, told Reuters [Ally J. Levine, Minami Funakowski, Tom Polansek, and Karl Plume, “A Meaty Problem,” Reuters, 2020.05.11.].
Donald, Kristi, remind me: for whom are we working and risking our lives?