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US Drought Brings Mass Livestock Slaughter, Soaring Food Prices to World

Common Dreams staff

Drought stricken corn in Missouri Valley, Iowa, on Monday, August 13, 2012. (USDA photo by Dave Kosling)

Soaring food prices and mass livestock slaughter are ramifications hitting the world now as a result of the U.S. drought, a report from investment bank Rabobank International says.

These impacts also highlight a global food system unprepared to deal with the impacts of climate change, tied to an industrial livestock raising system dependent upon monocrops produced in a centralized location, in the case of cattle, fed to animals whose physical systems are not set up to ingest them.

Euphemistically referring to the slaughter as "herd liquidation" Rabobank warns this will lead to 14% jump in food prices, the Guardian writes, adding that there has already been a 31% increase in the price of pork.

Explaining the connection between the slaughter and food price increases, the Guardian reports:

Nicholas Higgins, a Rabobank commodities analyst and author of the report, said: "There will be an initial glut in meat availability as people slaughter their animals to reduce their feed bills. But by next year herds will be so reduced that there won't be enough animals to meet expected demand and prices will soar."

The report doesn't foresee a repeat of the food crisis of 2008 when staples like wheat and rice were severely affected,  but does predict the developing world "with its high demand elasticity, especially to meat, to ration import demand of grains, oilseeds and meat most heavily, leading consumption growth to slow and even recede for a period as prices rise.”

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