Slaughterhouse Workers: Dying for a Job

One of the major risks for slaughterhouse employees is the high line speed. Employees must lift, kill or cut a number of animals each minute, typically with few breaks. Some typically aren’t even offered time to rest throughout their shift. A Teamster private investigator informed The Nation magazine that throughout conferences with abattoir employees, “People were crying, talking about being covered in diarrhea the entire shift because the supervisor wouldnt let them go to the bathroom.”

You could picture exactly how the animals are treated when workers are forced to function covered in their own waste. Improperly shocked hogs kick as well as scream as they are sunk in tanks of scalding-hot water, used to soften their skin. Cows have a hard time as the skin is torn from their bodies. Hens, that aren’t also consisted of in the only government legislation set up to protect animals killed for food, have their throats slit while they’re still awake as well as are scalded to death in storage tanks of hot water by the millions.


An employee at a Smithfield abattoir told Human Rights Watch that he had breathing problems at the office and red breakouts on his hands and also arms: “I think I have an allergic reaction to hogs. But Im afraid to say anything about this because Im afraid they will fire me.”

The “head table” at the High quality Pork Processors slaughterhouse in Austin, Minnesota, is not a nice place to work. Employees cut up pigs’ heads and shot compressed air into their heads, spraying out their brains. At least 18 staff members who worked the head table came down with a mystical neurological health problem as a result, with signs and symptoms varying from ranging from weakness and fatigue to paralysis.

Even if you aren’t considerate to the predicament of animals or workers, consider this: The very same uncaring heating system that allows employees to be exposed to a hazardous mist of pets’ brains and animals to be scalded to death also permits carcasses polluted with feces and vomit, tapeworms as well as abscesses, to be sent out down the line. The meat sector is not mosting likely to change, but we can: It’s time to leave the damaged bodies of animals off our plates and go vegetarian.

While these are separate incidents – most abattoirs do not utilize this strategy, and the problem is not thought to be transmittable – illnesses, injuries and even deaths at abattoirs are shockingly regular. If you consume meat, you are funding the daily exploitation of these employees and animals.

Workers on the killing floor are in continuous contact with feces, vomit and diseased animals, so it’s not a surprise that they often fall unwell themselves. One study of slaughterhouse workers by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Institution of Public Wellness found that half checked out for campylobacter bacteria, which can cause looseness of the bowels, belly cramps and also high temperature.

In all, according to numbers just recently launched by researchers, a minimum of 24 abattoir employees – possibly more – in Minnesota, Indiana and Nebraska have the ailment. Every one of the impacted employees operated in a part of the plants that utilized compressed air to eliminate pigs’ brains. Scientists think the air turned some matter into a mist that was breathed in by the workers; the plants have given that discontinued the technique.

Paula Moore
Paula Moore is a senior writer for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510