“Walmart – if you are looking for the reincarnation of the British East India Company, there you’ve got it – Walmart.” – Barry C. Lynn
At present, just four companies control over 80 percent of the cattle packing market. Barry C. Lynn, Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation who has written the book Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and The Economics of Destruction (2010, Wiley), provided the context we can use to decipher a monopoly issue such as this. Also featured was Mark Halverson, Staff Director for the Senate Agriculture Committee. Mr. Halverson, in his work with Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), has helped to challenge meat packing monopolies in the language of the 2008 Farm Bill. This Bill invokes the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act in order to give the United States Department of Agriculture the authority to enforce anti-trust activity in the increasingly consolidated meat industry. Researchers at the advocacy group Food & Water Watch have kept an eye on the implementation of this specific anti-trust provision, and Patrick Woodall, Research Director and Senior Policy Advocate there, reports on their research and describes the methods through which a delicate and complicated issue such as this can be studied.