Oh, man. From the Guardian:

The mass slaughter of millions of farm animals across the world is expected to push food prices to their highest ever levels.

Farmers across the world have begun a mass slaughter of their pig and cattle herds because they cannot afford the cost of feed, which has soared following the worst US drought in living memory, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Experts at investment bank Rabobank warn that the mass “herd liquidation” will contribute to a 14% jump in the price of the average basket of food [in the United Kingdom] by next summer.

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Once again: thanks, drought.

Dead corn means dead animals.

It’s important to note that this slaughter and the resulting food price spike is still mostly in the future. Mostly.

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Rabobank said the slaughter of millions of pigs has already led to a 31% increase in the price of pork and the costs of other meats are also expected to soar as “US livestock herds are likely to be liquidated at an accelerating pace in the first half of 2013.”

Nicholas Higgins, a Rabobank commodities analyst and author of the report, said: “There will be an initial glut in meat availability as people slaughter their animals to reduce their feed bills. But by next year herds will be so reduced that there won’t be enough animals to meet expected demand and prices will soar.” …

“Farmers cut back pigs because they can rebuild them the quickest. Replacement cattle take a lot longer to breed — a year and a half compared to six months for pigs,” he said.

Predicted growth of the Standard and Poors Agriculture Index and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Food Price Index. (Image courtesy of Farming UK.)

One bright spot:

Higgins said he did not expect a repeat of the 2007-8 food riots in developing countries across the world because most meat is consumed in the west.

We’re going to kill millions of animals as people struggle with high food prices but at least there won’t be food riots.

Really looking forward to 2013.