On 11th March 2024, Tyson Foods, the top US meat-producing company based in Arkansas, and the world’s second-largest producer of meat from cows, pigs, and chickens, announced it will close a pig flesh processing plant in Perry, Iowa, US. Reuters reported that the plant is set to close on 28th June. The facility will be the ninth to close since early 2023 because of softening demand for meat and poultry.

The company’s pig flesh business has struggled with high grain costs but may be recovering. However, because of high prices, consumer demand for meat products in general has not increased as usual, so companies such as Tyson, Smithfield Foods and JBS Foods have offset losses by cutting costs within their operations. Since the beginning of last year, Tyson alone has announced the closure of eight facilities, which include six chicken plants and two case-ready meat processing plants, being the Perry facility its ninth. 

In August 2023, Tyson Foods announced the closure of four of its chicken plants in Arkansas, Indiana, and Missouri following a decline in demand for some of its products. It closed meatpacker facilities, apparently to cut costs after it already closed two further plants in Virginia and Arkansas earlier that year. According to Reuters, the four facilities that closed represented 10% of its chicken slaughter facilities.

Although there is no data to confirm this, the US public may be beginning to learn about the huge damage the animal agriculture industry is causing to the environment, wildlife, farmed animals, and people’s health, so they may be cutting on meat consumption, or even becoming vegetarian or vegan, and this may have a sufficient impact in the market for having contributed to the consumption decline that partially justified these closures.  

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.