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Unformatted text preview: rices that American ranchers are paid for their cattle. A number of studies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have reached the same
conclusion. Annual beef consumption in the United States peaked in 1976, at about ninety-four pounds per person. Today the typical
American eats about sixty-eight pounds of beef every year. Although the nation’s population has grown since the 1970s, it has not grown fast
enough to compensate for the decline in beef consumption. Ranchers trying to stabilize their incomes fell victim to their own fallacy of
composition. They followed the advice of agribusiness firms and gave their cattle growth hormones. As a result, cattle are much bigger today;
fewer cattle are sold; and most American beef cannot be exported to the European Union, where the use of bovine growth hormones has
The meatpacking companies claim that captive supplies and formula pricing systems are means of achieving greater efficiency, not of
controlling cattle prices. Their slaughterhouses require a large and steady volume of cattle to operate profitably; captive supplies are one...
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- Spring '08