“Big Meat” tries to silence its critics


Reader S. L. sent me the link to this video from cattleman Jim Mundorf describing “how there is an obvious campaign to get cattlemen, who criticize the way the industry currently operates, to shut the hell up”.  I recommend spending 8 minutes of your time watching it.  In particular, note what he says about foreign meat imports being re-labeled as a US product and sold as such.

I’ve been talking to local farmers and ranchers for some time about the sourcing and pricing of meat, as regular readers will recall.  Mr. Mundorf’s news fits what they’ve been telling me.  Here in northern Texas, we haven’t been subject to as much pressure from “Big Meat”, but I understand producers in more northerly states are “under the gun”:  if they complain, the big feed lots won’t buy their cattle, putting them out of business.

That’s also why my wife and I have long made a practice of buying our meat from a nearby butcher, who sources locally and can tell us where everything came from.  He’s not the cheapest source available, but his quality is unmatched.  He also makes up things like sausages to order.  I recently asked him to make me some of his (justly famous) bratwurst flavored with boudin seasoning from Louisiana.  The result was extremely tasty, and (because I ordered in bulk) the price was very reasonable, about 60% of his usual list price for bratwurst.  I wasn’t complaining!

He’s also partnered with others in a small-scale regional processing facility, slaughtering up to 1,000 animals every year.  You can order a whole cow or portions thereof, or a pig, or whatever.  I find the prices a bit high, but the facility points out (with justification) that you’re getting top-quality meat for the money, with no imports and no sub-standard cuts.  (You can even go to their farm and select the cow you want – a friend of ours did that recently.)  In that sense, yes, I guess the higher price is justifiable.  Certainly, the one-third of half a cow that we recently shared with two other families is proving to be very good eating.

My advice?  Whenever possible, find a local supplier who’s trustworthy, and buy from him.  It pays dividends in helping to avoid the shenanigans described by Mr. Mundorf.



  1. Bigger freezer, place to put it, place to plug it in, backup generator….
    There's a small herd of beef cattle right next door to us; the meat used to be sold at a boutique butcher shop nearby, but that seems to have gone out of business (also, my wife wouldn't approve of eating a critter she might have met while 'twas on the hoof). I need to inquire as to where the local, small-batch, pasture-raised cattle end up these days.

  2. (You can even go to their farm and select the cow you want – a friend of ours did that recently.)

    That made me think of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, where diners at Milliways have the opportunity to "meet the meat."

  3. "Bigger freezer, place to put it, place to plug it in, backup generator…."
    Or one heck of a neighborhood BBQ.
    Thanks for this post.
    You all be safe and God bless.

  4. Riddle me this Batman – Why would one of the most agriculturally productive countries in the world need to import food animals?

    Today I think 75% of honey originates outside the US but is packaged and marked product of the US as well.
    This started in I think the 1950's and helped result in bringing various infections and pests into the US, much of which is responsible for the decline in bee population (also use of pesticides all over the place, some of which stay in the environment a very long time).

    Makes me wonder how the foreign beef will effect our domestic cattle. And given supply chain issues as we have found why would we allow our food to be exposed to the same problems?

  5. We have a small meat processing facility in my area, one of only 2 or 3 in the State. Unfortunately, we are too far north to raise good cattle, we do have a new butcher shop that just gets Certified Black Angus or better (got a Japanese A5 Wagyu Ribeye, with papers and everything, a couple weeks ago, worth trying once in your life). I get most of my meat from Costco or large roasts or whole primals when they have them on sale at Safeway or Fredmeyers, then I just cut them up and vacuum bag them, keep all three of my freezers full.

  6. "Why would one of the most agriculturally productive countries in the world need to import food animals?"

    Because some politician decided to screw over domestic producers in favor of foreign ones: see the destruction of the US lamb market back in the …50s?

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