We understand economies of scale, but this is not only ridiculous but potentially harmful:
Over the summer, we were alarmed to learn that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow four Chinese facilities to process poultry raised and slaughtered in the United States, Canada, or Chile, then export the cooked poultry products back into the United States for human consumption. 1
You read that right: we’re going to take chickens raised right here in the (putatively) good ol’ USA, hit them with tiny little sledge hammers between their tiny little beady eyes, then ship them around the world to be “processed” by the Chinese.
At first blush it makes no economic sense.
“Think about it: A Chinese company would have to purchase frozen chicken in the U.S., pay to ship it 7,000 miles, unload it, transport it to a processing plant, unpack it, cut it up, process/cook it, freeze it, repack it, transport it back to a port, then ship it another 7,000 miles. I don’t know how anyone could make a profit doing that.”
Well, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does.
Their figures reveal that American chicken pluckers barely make enough to live on: slightly more than $11 p/h (avg). The Chinese government doesn’t keep similar statistics. 2 However this news item (about a really safe fire at a Chinese poultry processing plant) quotes one worker stating he earns between $1-2 per hour.
So there you have why the (dead) chicken crossed the road.
He’s going to China.