Senator Tom Harkin says the Bush Administration doesn’t seem interested in filing lawsuits against agribusinesses that some charge are monopolies.Harkin, who’s chairman of the Senate Ag Committee, held a hearing yesterday to discuss legislation that would ban meatpacker ownership of livestock.Harkin says federal enforcement of the anti-monopoly provisions of the Packers and Stockyards Act is more important than ever, but U-S-D-A lawyers haven’t filed a single complaint about unlawful competition in the past year and a half.Harkin says that’s hard to believe in the face of all the consolidation in the hog industry.Harkin says the U-S-D-A’s weak enforcement of anti-monopoly laws has gone on for years, and it needs to get its act together as more and more independent pork producers are being forced out of the business. Harkin says there’s no future in the livestock industry unless fair, open and competitive markets are restored — and that means breaking up monopolies.
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