America, a country of 50 states with a population of 327.2 million people, relies in part on domesticated animals such as cattle, pigs and poultry as sources of meat as well as buffaloes, sheep and goats.
There’s worry, however, about the treatment of animals on factory farms. Animals are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds and stuffed into wire cages, metal crates, and other torturous devices. They are denied the warmth of the sun on their backs or to breathe fresh air until the day they’re loaded onto trucks headed for slaughterhouses.
The factory farming industry aims to maximize output while minimizing costs – always at the animals’ expense leading many of the animals to die from disease or infection. While the U.S. exports meat to other countries, it also makes imports.
And Namibia has become the first African country to export red meat to the United States after it sent 25 tonnes of beef to Philadelphia, following two decades of haggling over safety regulations and logistics.
With American consumers craving for free-range, hormone-free beef, the Southern African nation is exporting 860 tonnes of various beef cuts in 2020 to the United States projected to rise to 5,000 tonnes by 2025.
The move is a big deal for the relatively tiny African state as farming including cattle raising contributes to nearly two-thirds of the population’s income.
“Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of $13 trillion, and U.S. consumers will benefit from access to Namibia’s high-quality, free-range, grass-fed beef,” U.S. ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, said.
Under the deal, exports will include boneless, raw beef cuts in frozen or chilled form from the state-owned meat firm Meatco. Namibia’s exports will also benefit from a duty-free regime under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“We’re able to finally export meat to the lucrative and big U.S. market,” Namibia’s minister of international relations, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said on Wednesday.
The United States tops the world list for red meat consumption per head. Americans consume on average 120 kgs of meat per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), making meat exports to the country a prime target.
In 2019, the country exported about 12,400 metric tonnes of meat to Norway, Britain, the European Union and Chinese markets. The target would be the massive U.S. fast-food industry and franchises like McDonald’s, the minister said.