A proper response
To the editor:
In your May 13 issue there was a letter trying to place the blame on the current shortage of meat on “the powers that be have tanked our economy” and referenced basically driving the livestock industry into the toilet.
President Donald Trump and his administration are the ones responsible for tanking the livestock industry by failing to respond to the COVID-19 crisis when, in a late January meeting at the White House, Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, had trouble focusing Trump’s full attention on a briefing about the virus. Trump downplayed the warning until late March. Since then, Trump’s administration has muddled through their responses.
Giant meat packing plants have always pushed their lines to move as fast as possible. In the beginning of the pandemic, they were slow to provide any safety equipment or distancing between employees, enabling the spread of the virus rapidly through their plants.
This was followed by Trump declaring meatpacking plants to be essential business, which forced sick workers to go back to work or lose their jobs, thus spreading the virus more.
Ford County, where there is a National Beef plant and a Cargill plant in Dodge City; Seward County, which has a National Beef plant in Liberal; and Finney County, where a Tyson plant is located, have all seen cases of the virus increase.
Until all large meatpacking plants adopt and keep in place strict safety guidelines to keep their employees from contracting COVID-19, plus strongly encourage and provide for sick employees to stay home and not spread the virus; livestock producers will continued being hurt. On May 13, a meat inspector from southwest Kansas died, which brought the national total to four.
People may not like wearing face masks, but you may not know you are carrying the virus or show symptoms until it is too late and you spread it to others.
Think of this when you are finally able to load cattle to send to a large meat packing plant and are talking to the driver. The driver delivers the cattle and talks to people who unload them, and it goes on and on from there.
Barbara Tajchman, Marion
Last modified May 20, 2020