ST. LOUIS – Barbecue season may have to come to a close and it’s not just because of social distancing but a shortage of meat in the marketplace, pork in particular.
About 2 million pigs are eaten each week. Three-quarters of those are consumed in the U.S. the rest internationally.
But COVID-19 has hit the slaughterhouses hard and they’re only getting to about 60% of the animals.
It has had an immediate impact on the industry, from those that breed and raise piglets, to the harvest farms and onto meatpacking packing plants and then finally the store shelves.
Some farmers are having to euthanize pigs at every stage of life because there’s no space and there’s no way to get them butchered, and yet shoppers are seeing rising costs.
Industry leaders say there’s really no telling how long this could last because it will take some time to come up with and implement new safety measures for these meatpacking plants and for their workers to be healthy enough to return.