I just read this morning that the Pilgrim's Pride Chicken Plant in Athens, Georgia was closing. This is just a few weeks after the Pilgrim's Pride plant in Athens, Alabama closed.
My Great Aunt Effie (pronounced AAANT Effie) lived across the street from the Pilgrim's Pride Plant in Alabama. On good days, a chicken or two would get away and run across the street. She would sneak out and chase it into her garage, closing the door and subsequently calling the rest of the family to inform us of fresh chicken and dumplings for supper. Try as I might, I have never and will never duplicate the cooking skills of Aunt Effie! That's partly because I don't use substances like "lard" and partly because she was just a very gifted cook! When she got fresh chicken and shared it, we fought for the scraps!
That plant has been operating for at least 50 or more years. What people don't realize is that it won't just be the factory workers who are out of work and suffering. The chicken industry is driven by the individual processors. The farmers who were supplying those chickens will now be shut down - many of them are financed to the hilt to maintain current techologies within their operations.
The truck drivers will be losing their jobs. The feed processors will be suffering as well - some of them possibly completely ceasing operations. That's the backwards trickle down of the shut downs. Now for the forwards flow - the grocers, the retail establishments, the restaurants, the local governments who no longer have those tax dollars.
Basically, shutting down what appears to be an old, worn out operation is going to have dismal consequences all the way around.
I don't know where we are going with our world right now. I suppose poultry can be purchased from cheaper sources overseas? But, is it as carefully guarded by health officials? When I worked in the catfish industry and the Vietnamese Catfish began to destroy the American industry with their cheap product, it was quickly discovered that the product was not well watched and the very reason for the "cheapness" of the product was the complete lack of government oversite.
This leaves me with so many questions - do we ask our government to back off their oversite? Do we ask them to insite that the same oversite is maintained on the foreign product brought in more cheaply? Is our public simply eating that much less poultry as a result of the broken economy? Why does poultry cost so much anyways - when I was growing up only the poor ate chicken everyday.
It's a given that I try to keep life simple - I raise my own chickens, gather my own eggs, garden most of my own veggies but not everyone has the time or energy to do that and too many people think it's really hard when it's not. I just don't know how simple you can ask people to get before our entire system breaks down to nothing.
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