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News :: Human Rights : International : Labor
Slaughterhouse Jobs: Human and Animal Rights Issues
by O Anna Niemus
04 Sep 2011
workers kicked by terrorized animals, killed or cut by chain saws and knives, slipping and falling
on the feces saturated floors
Slaughterhouse jobs are among the 5 most dangerous occupations in the world. They
have the highest turnover. Illegal immigrants are often hired by giant multinational
corporations. Mexican illegal immigrants
have been replaced by Central and South Americans.
Employees are kicked by terrorized animals, slip on the blood urine and waste on the slaughterhouse floor, contract ecoli (colon bacteria) diseases from the feces saturating
the plant, develop carpal tunnel and other
diseases from the constant cold, ear problems from the
high shrieks of animals being murdered., are struck by cranes and hooks, by loading machines
They cut themselves with knives and chain saws, are pecked by fearful
Child labor and pay below minimum wage
frequently occur. Unionbusters such as
Cargill (a Minnesota based corporation owned by a billionaire
who has gobbled up slaughterhouses in many countries) seek to move
jobs out of more unionized countries.
Just as soldiers constantly replay horrid
battle scenes, workers
are troubled by nightmares of the animals' eyes, their innocent protests.
The world has been organizing against sweat
shops. It is not just
clothing but meat (animal flesh), fish,
wood etc. whose manufacture puts workers
in danger as we realize
the human as well as
animal suffering involved in these products.
Jobs involving killing are dangerous in general, for instance, war, police work,
fishing, chopping down sentient trees.
# A UFCW union steward has said that most worker accidents occur in slaughterhouses.
# Workers are kicked, bitten, and scratched pecked by terrified animals fighting for their lives unsuccessfully.
# Contract ear problems from the screaming and shrieking of the animals,
# Have problems with bones in relation to the cold storage rooms.
# Cuts, many fatal, from the metal machinery, running into computer line knives.
# Alcoholism and drug use from trying to deal with the animals' suffering they are constantly absorbing.
# In the US the reduction of OSHA staff and the use of illegal aliens to fill these jobs, some of the most unpopular in the industry, intrinsically means more accidents.
# Electrocution from machinery near liquid secretions.
# In slaughterhouses where pigs and
chickens are frequently scalded while alive (http://www.mccruelty.com http://www.kfccruelty.com) there are frequent burns for humans as well
# Open grease pits for blood, grease, feces, urine are traps for tired employees.
# There is ligament tearing in the back, shoulders, and arms from the lifting of 100 lb. or several hundred lb. carcasses.
# Carpal tunnel is a frequent complaint of meat cutters.
# The Reagan administration in the US doubled the legal speed of the meat inspection line. There was a consequent increase in accidents. Meat comes from decaying cadavers. Fresh meat is an oxymoron. Nonetheless, the speedup of the inspection lines causes many more tumor ridden carcasses to get through.
# Hiring of illegal immigrants in
slaughterhouses has meant less trained personnel.
# In fish slaughter, there are also bites, scratches, hook accidents, fishing line accidents, drownings and other trauma.
# Dr Owen Parrett MD has written extensively of diseases of socalled 'food' animals. It is not just through eating their corpses that these
diseases can be transmitted. The immune system of slaughterhouse, meatcutter, and other workers is assaulted by slaughterhouse fluids (blood, feces, urine, vomit).
# Slip and fracture themselves on blood, urine, vomit and feces soaked floors,
# Lung problems from constant exposure to feather dust (A Japanese movie shown on Bravo is a tale of peach trees cut down as their spirits speak to children.).
Workers respond either
by quitting or desensitizing themselves
to the suffering of
the powerless animals.
In 19th Century Britain,
butchers could not sit
on juries because lawmakers felt the job
hardened the meatcutters. (Now many
US juries include only
the less sensitive half
of the population, as those who do not believe
in premeditated judicial,
prosecutor, gubernatorial or jury
murder (execution) are excluded
This work is in the public domain