Bipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock

Bipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock
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Several bipartisan senators are calling on Congress to provide additional funding to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help pork producers forced to depopulate livestock while restaurants, schools and other venues are closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

The senators said that pork producers normally send 2 million pigs to market a week but, with 20 percent of the market closed due to stay-at-home orders, around 400,000 animals per week must be disposed of in some manner other than processing.

“Given these significant social and economic consequences, we must prioritize funding in the next coronavirus response package to include indemnifying producers who are depopulating herds due to processing plant closures. Assistance is needed for humane euthanization and disposal which will require the coordination of the human, animal, and environmental health communities,” Sens. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump administration to impose tariffs on French products in response to digital tax Big Ten moves to conference-only model for all fall sports Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Iowa), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - All eyes on Florida as daily COVID-19 cases hit 15K Democrats see immigration reform as topping Biden agenda GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (D-Ill.), and others wrote to congressional leadership on Monday.

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The senators also noted that processing plants are closing due to coronavirus outbreaks, curtailing production of products, and won’t reopen until companies improve safety measures. Smithfield, the world’s biggest pork processor, closed a South Dakota plant that accounts for up to 5 percent of the U.S. pork production, for over two weeks. It has since reopened.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueAmerican meat producers must leverage new technology to protect consumers, workers OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senior Interior official contacted former employer, violating ethics pledge: watchdog | Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service | Senate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Ag secretary orders environmental rollbacks for Forest Service MORE last week predicted that U.S. meatpacking plants will fully reopen in the next seven to 10 days, following President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities MORE’s executive order requiring processing plants to stay open.

“The downstream impact of idled plants is full farms, creating an animal welfare crisis due to overcrowding and the challenge of providing enough feed and water available to each animal,” the senators wrote. 

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