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Friday, September 23, 2016

Tell Congress to Support Local Meat Production!

Tell Congress to Support Local Meat Production!
Call or Email to Show Your Support

What keeps more farmers from selling meat locally?
If you ask, many will tell you that it's the lack of small-scale slaughterhouses. Numerous farmers who are raising meat for local markets have to haul their animals several hours away, increasing costs and creating stress for the animals. The number of slaughterhouses in the country continues to decline; USDA reported earlier this year that there was a net loss of over 70 federally inspected slaughterhouses in 2015.
H.R. 3187, the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, would tackle the scarcity of small-scale slaughterhouses by allowing the sale of meat from "custom" slaughterhouses.
Many farmers have a custom slaughterhouse closer than a federal or state-inspected facility. But under the federal regulations, the meat from a custom facility can only go to the individual or individuals who owned the animal at the time the slaughter took place. This means that the customer(s) must buy the whole animal while it is still alive, accepting a lot of variability and uncertainty in the pricing, quantity, and final product. For many farmers and consumers, this simply doesn't work.
The PRIME Act would give individual states the freedom to permit intra-state distribution of custom-slaughtered meat to individual consumers and to restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores that directly serve consumers. Custom-processed beef, pork, lamb, and goat are covered under the bill. Each state would be able to set the requirements and limitations on the custom slaughterhouses it considers appropriate. 
Twenty Representatives from both parties have joined Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) in co-sponsoring H.R. 3187 to support local meat production. Although time is running out to move the bill forward this year (especially with the upcoming election), the more Representatives who sign on, the better our chances of making progress on it next year.
Would you help us build support for locally produced meat?

Please pass this alert on and ask others to do the same.
Item1Take Action
Call or email your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor H.R. 3187, the PRIME Act.
You can find out who represents you by going to or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Remember, calls are far more effective, and they can take just a couple of minutes!
Sample message for calls/emails:
As a constituent, I urge Representative ____ to co-sponsor H.R. 3187, the PRIME Act. This important bill will make it easier for small farms and ranches to succeed financially and provide consumers with greater access to locally raised meats. The bill simply removes the federal ban on the sale of meat from custom slaughterhouses directly to consumers and venues serving consumers within a state, subject to state law. This returns power to the states to establish a regulatory scheme that makes sense for their citizens.
The PRIME Act is the first step to rebuilding local processing infrastructure, which can revive rural economies and enable communities to become more self-sufficient in meat production.
Please support our local farmers and consumer choice by co-sponsoring H.R. 3187.
[City, State]
If you are a livestock producer, take a few extra minutes and ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues. Briefly explain to the staffer any problems you have faced with lack of access to inspected slaughterhouses, and how the PRIME Act would help your business and benefit your customers.
NOTE: The current co-sponsors are: Reps Justin Amash (R-MI), Dave Brat (R-VA), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), John Duncan (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), John Garamendi (D-CA), Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Crescent Hardy (R-NV), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Mark Sanford (R-SC), and Robert Wittman (R-VA).

If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, be sure to call and say "Thank you!"
Item2More Information
Please visit this page to view the white paper on the PRIME Act (there is a pdf version at the end of the article that you can download to share with your Representative).

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of family farms and artisan food producers while protecting consumer access to raw milk and nutrient-dense foods. 

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