The Meat Crisis Is Here: Price Of Shrimp Up 61% – 7 Million Pigs Dead – Beef At All-Time High

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

As the price of meat continues to skyrocket, will it soon be considered a "luxury item" for most American families?  This week we learned that the price of meat in the United States rose at the fastest pace in more than 10 years last month.  Leading the way is the price of shrimp.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of shrimp has jumped an astounding 61 percent compared to a year ago.  The price of pork is also moving upward aggressively thanks to a disease which has already killed about 10 percent of all of the pigs in the entire country.  And the endless drought in the western half of the country has caused the size of the U.S. cattle herd to shrink to a 63 year low and has pushed the price of beef to an all-time high.  This is really bad news if you like to eat meat.  The truth is that the coming "meat crisis" is already here, and it looks like it is going to get a lot worse in the months ahead.

A devastating bacterial disease called "early mortality syndrome" is crippling the shrimping industry all over Asia right now.  According to Bloomberg, this has pushed the price of shrimp up 61 percent over the past 12 months...

In March, shrimp prices jumped 61 percent from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The climb is mainly due to a bacterial disease known as early mortality syndrome. While the ailment has no effect on humans, it’s wreaking havoc on young shrimp farmed in Southeast Asia, shrinking supplies.

This disease has an extremely high mortality rate.  In fact, according to the article that I just quoted, it kills approximately nine out of every ten shrimp that it infects...

Cases of early mortality syndrome, which destroys the digestive systems of young shrimp, were first reported in China in 2009, said Donald Lightner, a professor of animal and comparative biomedical sciences at University of Arizona in Tucson.


The disease, which kills about 90 percent of the shrimp it infects, traveled from China to Vietnam to Malaysia and then to Thailand, he said. Cases also were reported in Mexico last year, Lightner said.

A different disease is driving up the price of pork in the United States.  It is known as the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, and in less than a year it has spread to 30 states and has killed approximately 7 million pigs.

The price of bacon is already up 13.1 percent over the past year, but this is just the beginning.

It is being projected that U.S. pork production could be down by as much as 10 percent this year, and Americans could end up paying up to 20 percent more for pork by the end of 2014.

The price of beef has also moved to unprecedented heights.  Thanks to the crippling drought that never seems to end in the western half of the nation, the size of the U.S. cattle herd has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951.

Over the past year, the price of ground chuck beef is up 5.9 percent.  It would have been worse, but ranchers have been slaughtering lots of cattle in order to thin their herds in a desperate attempt to get through this drought.  If this drought does not end soon, the price of beef is going to go much, much higher.

As prices for shrimp, pork and beef have risen, many consumers have been eating more chicken.  But the price of chicken is rising rapidly as well.

In fact, the price of chicken breast is up 12.4 percent over the past 12 months.

Unfortunately, this could just be the very beginning of this meat crisis.  As I wrote about recently, some scientists are warning that we could potentially be facing "a century-long megadrought".

And right now, there are no signs that the drought out west is letting up.  Just check out the map posted below.  It comes from the U.S. Drought Monitor, and it shows how the drought in California has significantly intensified since the beginning of the year...

California Drought 2014

And considering how much the rest of the nation relies on the agricultural production coming out of California, it is very alarming to see that the drought is getting even worse.

Right now, things are so bone dry in most of the state that it is easy for wildfires to get out of control.  In fact, Governor Jerry Brown has just declared a state of emergency in San Diego County because of the vicious wildfires that are raging there...

Officials ordered another round of evacuations early Thursday north of San Diego as gusty winds and near 100-degree temperatures offer little relief from at least nine fires that have consumed a 14-square mile area of Southern California.


Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for San Diego County, which frees up special resources and funding for the firefight.


The fires, coming earlier than normal in the wildfire season, are being fed by brush and trees left brittle by prolonged drought. They are also being whipped by a Santa Ana wind system that reverses the normal flow of wind from the Pacific Ocean and creates tinderbox fire conditions.


For the first time in its 14-year-history, the U.S. Drought Monitor, a federal website that tracks drought, designated the entire state of California as in a severe (or worse) drought.

If you do not live out west, you may have no idea how very serious this all really is.

For years, I have been warning about the potential for dust bowl conditions to return to the western half of the country.

Now it is actually starting to happen.

And we already have tens of millions of people in this country that are struggling to feed themselves.  If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled "Epidemic Of Hunger: New Report Says 49 Million Americans Are Dealing With Food Insecurity".

So what happens if drought, diseases and plagues continue to cause food production in this country to plummet?

Those that have studied these things tell us that there is a clear correlation between food prices and civil unrest.  For example, the following is a short excerpt from a recent Scientific American article...

Since the beginning of 2014, riots have occurred in countries including Thailand and Venezuela. Although they’re different cultures on different continents, these mass protests movements may all have one commonality; increasing food prices may have contributed to their occurrence. The cost of food has been steadily increasing in both Thailand and Venezuela; last month demonstrators in Caracas took to the streets marching with empty pots to protest food shortages. According to Dr. Yaneer Bar-Yam and fellow researchers at the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), events such as these may be anticipated by a mathematical model that examines rising food costs.


The events of 2014 aren’t without precedent; the price of food has provoked (and placated) throughout history, beginning in Imperial Rome when Augustus introduced grain subsidies. In recent years, the Middle East has been particularly affected by the cost of grain. Centuries after Egypt developed bread as we recognize it, the nation experienced a bread intifada – the country rioted for two days in January 1977 following Anwar Sadat’s decision to drastically decrease food subsidies. More recently, under the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the price of grain rose 30 percent between 2010 and 2011. Then, on January 25, 2011 a new revolution began in Egypt.

Could rapidly rising food prices cause civil unrest in the United States eventually?

It won't happen today, and it won't happen tomorrow, but some day it might.

Meanwhile, you might want to start carving out a significantly larger portion of the family budget for food for the foreseeable future.

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Soul Glow's picture

No lists?  Oh well.  Anyway, if the price of meat is up like goods will substitute and America eats too much meat anyway.  Carry on Patriot.

Bad Attitude's picture

Fresh fruits and vegetables are going to see similar price increases because of the drought and other causes. Just this past week, I was surprised to see the price of apples jump twenty percent.

Forward (over the cliff)!

HobbyFarmer's picture

In the past few weeks we've had several neighbors, friends at work, from church, and even the bus driver stop and ask us if we'd be willing to sell part of our steer when we butcher.  People see what's going on are connecting to local small farmers.  Prices are crazy, especially with what is happening to pork.

Hedge accordingly everybody!

Xibalba's picture

Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  Inflation is transitory.  

Ahmeexnal's picture

The wookie says: "Let them eat cake!"

Time to stock up on sardine cans. They'll be worth their weight in gold in a few months!

LetThemEatRand's picture

Blind man walks by a fishing dock and says, "hello, ladies."

knukles's picture

This whole fucking mess fits right into the;r plan that everybody (but the chosen few) eat noting but garnish (green shit) not the meat its supposed to surround as a decor.

Agenda 21, etc, motherfuckers.

g'kar's picture

Soylent Green Shit, it's what's for dinner.

old naughty's picture

but wait, dead pigs only in China, no?

Dead shrimps due to EMS, really? Not FSR (fuk-u-shRimP Seawater Radiation)?

Christophe2's picture

"Farmer feeds GMO corn to his pigs: they all become sterile":

=> seems like there are some side effects to the plan to sterilize the masses...

eatthebanksters's picture

Arab Spring comes to Amerika! Btw, QE has nothing to do with any of this....

chumbawamba's picture

Naw, squirrel and rabbit will become popular again.

I am Chumbawamba.

Xibalba's picture

try catching duck in Central Park.  mmmm

Jumbotron's picture

Yumm.......Cat Ching Duck.....haven't had that since leaving mainland China

El Vaquero's picture

It's like a perfect storm.  QE plus all of the other shit coming together at once.  At some point, the sheeple are going to snap that prices aren't going to come down, or be scared that there will be real shortages in the future, and they'll buy now rather than buying later.   Then prices start going up, and it turns into a Weimar situation.


And it's funny.  All the shit that they're blaming on the weather has nothing to do with the weather.  Yet weather can have an effect on food prices, and it appears that it has here, but it's "Nope!  No inflation!  Nothing to see here folks, move along."

mkkby's picture

Drought has nothing to do with weather.  Sure thing, el loco.

BeerMe's picture

On top of that is the Fed's easy money.  It had been mostly flowing into the stock market but more & more has been moving into commodity prices.

Bay Area Guy's picture

The only problem with switching from meat is what you have to switch to. Seafood? I live on the West Coast and I won't eat Pacific Ocean seafood because of Fukushima contamination. Gulf Coast has all of the oil spill residue and the dispersants mixed in. I haven't heard much bad about Atlantic seafood (yet), but that's mighty expensive here. And forget about farm raised. That'll kill you faster than the Fukushima stuff.

I've taken to eating game meat like buffalo and elk and wild boar when I can get it. Yes, it's more expensive, but it's also a lot healthier than the beef and pork. I need meat because I have had medical issues in the recent past that left me anemic (better now).

fonzannoon's picture

There is no Atlantic seafood. The shellfish were all wiped out with the brown tides. Whatever is left soaks in the chemical run offs from the farms every year. I go out and catch stripers which are nice, but they all come down the hudson, which if you have ever driven on the FDR you get a nice view off, and that can wreck an appetite. Everything else is farmed off the coast. You can get the occasional tuna and there is some mahi mahi I guess. That's about it.

knukles's picture

Brown tide my ass...
Long Island Sound's lobster, oysters and much of the regular fish (once plentiful during my lifetime) was put paid extinct from the shit the gobermint let leak out of Plum Island, billed as an Ag Research Station, but in truth was a major Bio-Weapons research facility.
Ever heard of Lyme Disease?
Was a product of ticks loosed form Plum made their way across the Sound to Lyme CT.

And much of Plum's research has been moved to the CDC etc., research facility in Downtown Fucking Atlanta.
Booyah on that shit, too.


Yen Cross's picture

  Good comment Knukles.  That shithole Wookie research Island is a disgrace. I'm a conservative(by no means a fucktard neocon ludite McCain lover) but 'Plum Island needs to be nuked off the map.'

  The Chinese/Norks are out today.  Hijacking my keyboard.

g'kar's picture

Jesse Ventura did an interesting episode of Conspiracy Theory on Plum Island and Lymes Disease.


A clip:

Bay Area Guy's picture

In other words, so much for seafood.  Thanks fonz.  Guess it's game meat, organic chicken and some soy for protein and iron.

Cornfedbloodstool's picture

The FDR is next to the East River. Westside highway is next to Hudson.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

So... Where's the Beef!?

TheMeatTrapper's picture

I encourage everyone to become a vegan. 

I hate competition. 

Atomizer's picture

Do you realize trees create oxygen so you can breathe? Go Vegan!

Hippies Wail for Dead Trees. You should connect with your alter ego group.

CrazyCooter's picture

I hope to catch all the fish our household eats this year. That just means eggs and chicken from the store. I am keeping a book of time and cost. I expect to be red this season, but black in seasons after.



NYPoke's picture

On Warren Buffet's Ranch(es).  No way Warren doesn't clean up on this.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Warren counts the money.  Becky cleans up.  At least it's Quick.

Pinche Caballero's picture

For the small landholder of 3-5 acres with some grass, consider the hardier, smallest of the large breeds, dual- purpose meat and milk Dexter. It is manageable, as I have learned.

duo's picture

Dandelions are more nutritious then spinach.  I've cultivated my own strain that can survive the TX summers.

Squirrels and dandelions - survival food for suburbia.

Chief Wonder Bread's picture

Squirrels and dandelions - survival food for suburbia.

And OPP (other people's pets)

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Cockroaches also. Insects are a major source of animal protein also. Give it time, they will start with things like hummus like cockroach paste.

Bug zapper, with a blender catch underneath. Blend, strain then cook to kill the bacteria. I know it sounds disgusting but you flavor it with wild edibles and you'd never notice the difference unless someone told you.

butchtrucks's picture

Thanks - but I'll stick with pigmeat - porcine diarahhea epidemic and all.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Happy squirrel happy squirrel morning in the dew!
Happy Squirrel Happy Squirrel evening in my stew!
Dandy Lion Dandy Lion urban weed !
Dang Dandy Lion post-apocalyptic feed!

My plan is to be a guitar playing bard bringing mail, news and song between post apocalyptic fortified towns and communities.

tickhound's picture

Solitude was nice. But then I took an arrow to the knee.

the mighty jimbo's picture

Holy haliburton!  Soylent green anyone?

Quus Ant's picture

If you buy organic grass fed you already pay through the nose.  Now people are being priced out of diseased factory meat.  Shoe leather could be next.

Sudden Debt's picture

price of shrimps up 61%....

it's how forrest gump got rich....

BrosephStiglitz's picture

Off in the Gulf of Mexico a retard and a man with no legs deftly maneuver a lone shrimping trawler between BP oil platforms in their quest to cure all of the world's ills.

Sudden Debt's picture

one more EBT card crash away from a big riot.

TheMeatTrapper's picture

What food price increases? Food is free for the Free Shit Army.