Beef and Pork Prices Raiding Our Pockets
By Teagan N.
Are our new enemies the swine flu and rain shortage?
In April 2013, a form of swine flu called the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, appeared in the United States. PEDv destroyed the inner lining of the small intestine in pigs, causing severe diarrhea and dehydration. In early 2013, a drought started in the southern United States and California, causing a decrease in the beef population. These events have caused a major increase in pork and beef prices, up to 8–10% for pork and 10–12% for beef.
During 2013 and 2014, the population of pigs decreased by 10%. Sows were unable to bear piglets because they would die before they were fully developed. Only recently has a vaccine for PEDv been found, but it has effectively prevented the virus and the population of pigs is rising once again, enough that pork prices are once again starting to decrease.
Also during 2013 and 2014, a drought within the Great Plains killed over 2,500 cattle before they could be slaughtered. Cows couldn’t get enough to eat, thus prolonging their butchering date and leaving them to die. With the PED virus going around at the same time, meat prices skyrocketed and left people puzzled and looking for answers.
An explanation for the prices of meat was never fully given in the news, leaving people to hypothesize and look for their own solutions to the problem. The prices of beef and pork are projected to decrease in 2016, but it won’t be known until then. Until then, pig and cattle populations are being carefully monitored in the hopes that they will begin to rise once again.