Back to the Beef


Farewell for awhile to the succulent chop,
Farewell to the pork and the beans,
For beef has declined with a favoring drop
That brings it within a man’s means.
Last week it went up with a “cornering” air,
And there seemed not a ray of relief,
But now it resumes its old place in our fare,
And we gladly get back to our beef.

Though mutton and pork may suffice for a time,
And chicken’s nice cheer now and then,
Yet what can compare with good beef in its prime
For the feeding of muscular men?
With beef in a “corner” one sorry resource
Might haply have caused us much grief,
But we’re saved from the fear of the hard-driven horse
By the pleasant rebound in the beef.

Oh, “corner” men, let not our steaks tempt your greed,
Our porterhouse rush not too high,
And leave us our sirloins from “cornerings” freed,
That we may continue to buy;
Let trusts and combines otherwhere work their way
Restrictions on food must be brief,
For whatever goes wrong we must have honest play
For our piece de resistance — good beef!

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Dec 2, 1899

C.C. Slaughter



He Outlines the Work of the Beef Producers and Butchers’ National Association and Asks for Assistance — Farmers and Feeders.

DALLAS, Tex., December 23. — To the cattle raisers, cattle feeders and butchers of the United States: By direction of the executive committee of the Beef Producers and Butchers’ National association, I hereby invite all cattle raisers, cattle feeders, cattle dealers and butchers in the United states who desire the re-establishment of competitive cattle markets and the enactment by the states of such prudential live stock inspection laws as will raise beef products above all suspicion of disease, to send $5 to the secretary of the Beef Producers and Butchers’ National association at Dallas, Tex., to cover membership dues in the association for one year.

Membership dues have been placed at the small sum of $5 to enable every one interested in the beef trade to participate in the efforts we have inaugurated to place the business of cattle raising and slaughtering on a basis determined by the natural laws of trade, and to secure to consumers absolute protection from all possibility of eating diseased meats.

Bills prepared by Colonel James O. Broadhead, president of the American Bar association, will be introduced in every legislature assembling this winter providing for state and territorial live stock inspection. Copies of these bills and Colonel Broadhead’s opinion, demonstrating the constitutionality of the legislation asked for, will be forwarded in a few days to parties in every state and territory, who will see that the legislation desired is pushed to the greatest possible extent.

From advices received from various parts of the country, I have reason to believe that the people of the United States are fast awakening to the necessity for such legislation as will take it out of the power of the men who have notoriously acquired their millions by cornering food products, by rebates from railroads, adulterating lard and other methods alike injurious to public interest and public health, to longer monopolize the beef trade of the United States.

It affords me pleasure to state that prominent cattlemen who have large interests in various portions of the west, and who have never heretofore been identified with our cattle associations nor with efforts previously made for the benefit of the cattle industry, have already joined our association and given it their unqualified and enthusiastic support.

All indications point toward the complete success of the efforts that we are now making to liberate the cattle industry from the power of the combine which has depressed cattle values without cheapening their products to consumers, and if our association is very generally supported by those interested in the beef trade, our success will be complete, notwithstanding the fact that the corrupting power of money may be used to control papers and to influence men against us who by every reason of interest and honor should be identified with our cause.

If every one interested in this great movement will subscribe the small amount of $5 at once the work outlined can be successfully carried out.
While we will use no corruption fund to accomplish our purpose, at the same time it is requisite for our success that we have a fund sufficiently large to compass the legitimate expenses attending work of this character.

The movement we have inaugurated in the interest of the people of the entire country should be supported by all who are not connected or controlled by the beef monopoly, and I would earnestly ask every one who desires tu see the cattle industry once more prosperous and prices obtained for cattle determined by the law of supply and demand, and wholesome beef secured at reasonable prices for the mechanics, laborers and wage workers of the nation as well as for the millionaires, to use their influence to secure members for our association.

I would call the special attention of the butchers of the United States to the importance of sustaining our organization. If we are successful they may hope to continue their legitimate business and be enabled to provide for themselves and families. If we fail, it is but a question of time when the butchers will have to abandon their independent and honorary trade and become meat cutters for Armour, Swift, Hammond and Morris. To the cattlemen who have not yet succumbed to the depressing influences which have been brought to bear on the cattle industry by the beef combine, I would say that if you support us with membership subscriptions to such an extent as to enable us to prosecute our work in your interest you may confidently rely upon a return of the prosperity formerly enjoyed during the time when your investments paid satisfactory returns. If you fail to aid us you may reasonably expect to join the ranks of the thousands of honest and honorable men who have lost their fortunes acquired by years of hard toil, owing to the pernicious methods of the beef monopoly.

The stock farmers and feeders who control the major portion of the beef product of the United States are earnestly urged to unite with us in support of measures which will prove of benefit to them. The breeders of thoroughbred and high-grade cattle have suffered, owing to the present artificial condition of the cattle trade, to a greater extent in proportion to their holdings than have the owners of cattle who are unable, owing to the depressed  condition of their business, to purchase bulls to grade up their herds at prices justified by investments made by breeding. The farmer whose corn is used for feeding purposes is also a sufferer by reason of the low prices paid by the beef combine for fat cattle. The merchants, bankers, and in fact the entire commercial interests of the nation are being seriously injured by the unnatural depression of the cattle business, and should aid us to secure legislation requisite to re-establish competitive cattle markets and restore the general prosperity of all business interests which are intimately connected with the cattle industry of the nation. If the centralization of the beef trade of the United States is to continue, it will only be a short time when the cattle receipts at the market controlled by the combine will reach 25,000 head a day, and even the semblance of other markets pass away forever. It is in the power of the Chicago beef syndicate to secure cut rates of freight by concentrating shipments over roundabout railroads, thus securing benefits in transporting their products, which enables them to defy all competition. To the 60,000,000 people of the United States, I would say that we desire such safeguards thrown around the beef trade of the nation as will place directly in the hands of the people, who are to be injured or benefited, the control of inspection which will secure wholesome beef in all markets. We believe that the deman for beef would be largely increased whenever local inspectors in all towns and cities condemn all meat that does not come from animals inspected by them alive and found to be healthy. Consumers on an average are paying as much for beef to-day as they did at a time when cattle were fully a third higher than at present. We can confidently assure the beef consumers of the nation that by their help, we can secure the enactment by the states of such live stock inspection laws as will restore the beef trade to natural conditions tending to reduce prices to them when cattle sell for low prices in the market centers of the country, and will secure them beyond all question thoroughly wholesome beef.

Relying on the intelligence and patriotism of the people of the United States, we call on them, one and all, to petition the legislatures of their respective states and [e?????ies to pass the state live stock inspection laws, which will be introduced under the auspices of our association in every legislature assembling this winter.

Reliance may be placed on the fact that we are thoroughly in earnest, and will use every honorable means to accomplish the work we have undertaken, the success of which will prove a benefit, not only to the cattle industry, but also to the people of the entire country.

President Beef Producers and Butchers’ National association.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Dec 27, 1888

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Apr 14, 1895


The movement to pass live stock inspection laws for the purpose of shutting dressed beef out of many of the states, both east and west, is bound to fail. The people are more afraid of the local butchers’ monopoly that such legislation would develop than of the dressed beef combine at the slaughtering centers. It is very evident that live stock inspection would not lessen the price of meat to consumers or improve the quality of steaks and roasts, while there is good reason to believe that if such legislation could be enforced the price would rise and the quality would deteriorate.

[Denver Republican.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 14, 1889

The people are being squeezed by everybody, and, naturally, the beef combine is under suspicion.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) May 6, 1902

Demurer of Beef Combine.

When the federal department of justice brought suit against leading beef and pork packers on the ground that they were in an illegal combine or trust, it will be remembered that the defendants boldly avowed their right to do what they had done and followed the declaration with the promise that they were ready at any time to produce their books and papers in proof of their contention that the high prices were justified by the condition of the market.

Now, when the government asks that these books and papers be placed in evidence, the packers answer with a demurrer, practically defying the authorities. What is the inference to be drawn from this action? If the advance in the price of beef has been wholly natural and the conditions of trade have been as set forth by the defendants, the most complete answer as well as the easiest would be for them to produce the proof obtainable from their books. When, after having asserted their readiness to do this, they promptly back down when confronted with a demand to that effect, the public can only suppose that the production of the documents would not sustain the claim. The contention of the packers that the publication of the details of their business would benefit rivals is untenable since the combine has no rivals.

Portsmouth Herald (Portsmouth, New Hampshire) Jan 13, 1903


Secretary Cortelyou of the department of commerce and labor has started his beef combine investigation. There are a few things he hopes to learn, and any one who can shed information should not hesitate to let himself be heard.

Here is one of the things. A year ago a great victory was won over the beef combine in the courts. The members of that combine were perpetually enjoined against entering into an agreement to control the price to be paid for cattle. Since then the packers have not entered into the agreement with each other forbidden by the courts, yet a man with cattle to sell has learned from experience that he is offered but one price. in the Chicago stockyards he will be offered $4 10 for his car load by the first buyer who comes along; this he refuses, and after a day or two he learns that no other offer is made him.

Secretary Cortelyou would like to know how the packers manage that so handily, especially since they have been compelled not to enter into an agreement with each other. It is an interesting puzzle.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 23, 1904

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