Cost of Increased Regulations
It’s happened in the manufacturing and service job sectors, but do we really want it to happen in the animal agriculture sector as well? I’m referring to jobs being “off-shored” to other countries due to heavy regulations imposed by federal, state, and local governments. Increased regulations on animal welfare could come with a high price tag for U.S. producers as well as consumers. A recent study which looked at the impact that sow housing and antimicrobial restrictions have had in the UK, Denmark, and Sweden showed that such imposed regulations can make it nearly impossible for domestic farmers and ranchers to remain competitive with overseas competitors, and eventually drives them out of business. Interestingly, the study also showed that in this case, because of the loss of domestic pork, the UK ended up importing more pork, which more than likely came from producers who didn’t meet the same criteria they were enforcing on their own producers. Researchers deduced that based on the size of the U.S. market, if such new sow housing restrictions are put in place, it would result in $5.8 billion in capitol costs and an annual increase in operating costs of over a billion dollars a year.