It's a notion suddenly being taken seriously in the political mainstream: cheap meat from feedlot-finished livestock processed in huge factories is a curse and should be replaced by pricier product from the local butcher whose supplier is the small, friendly organic farmer. Industry leaders fear the notion has enough credibility to distort policymaking. Each day brings more evidence of opposition from producer and processor lobbyists who at first welcomed the shift in political and public opinion towards regionalised production with stronger price incentives for small and particularly organic farmers. That's because it contained implicit extra protection against cheaper imports. ANM chief executive Brian Pack's argument is that a nationally integrated system of production, killing, distribution and exporting allows financial rewards from the most lucrative markets to reach the most isolated farmers, as well as favouring consumers with choice and freeing retail buyers from the shackles of seasonality. Executives in other major companies, including ABP, Dawn and Grampian, also believe the public debate is distorted by lack of understanding among the pundits, many not realising how small a proportion of the total consumer demand is for lightly processed meat cuts rather than sophisticated products. {{M/E MEAT }}