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Senator Cory Booker introduced a new bill that would protect slaughterhouse workers and animals by regulating line speeds in factories, according to an email from Farm Animal Protection.

Workers faced intense pressure when the government pushed to keep factories open during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May. Hundreds of workers were sent home sick and factories faced supply issues. During that time, the Trump Administration also pushed to increase line speeds in factories to keep production moving along. Combined with the coronavirus, this increase put workers at an even higher risk.

According to Farm Animal Protection, an analysis found that processing plants that received the waivers to increase line speeds were or have become coronavirus hotspots.

“In an abrogation of duty unimaginable to Americans seeing a surge in coronavirus cases, USDA increased slaughterhouse line speeds, putting workers, consumers and animals at even greater risk in a shameless sop to industrial agriculture,” said Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund in an emailed statement. “The bill sponsors are right to shine a spotlight on what can only be characterized as abject cruelty, and we urge Congress to swiftly enact their critical legislation.”

This video provides additional information about high-speed slaughter:

Booker has been pushing for animal rights legislation in the Senate and introduced a bill in 2019 to close factory farms by 2040. “Since mid-March, outbreaks of COVID-19 have continued to surge in meatpacking plants across the country, infecting tens of thousands of workers and tragically killing more than 168. The majority of these workers are from immigrant communities and communities of color,” said Sen. Booker. “The situation has only worsened since the USDA has approved nearly 20 requests from meatpacking plants to exceed regulatory limits on line speeds despite the risks posed to workers, consumers, and animal welfare. The USDA should be in the business of prioritizing worker and consumer safety over the profits of large multinational meatpacking corporations, not the other way around. The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act will rein in the USDA’s reckless oversight by limiting its ability to grant dangerous line speed waivers.”

Sign this petition telling the USDA to stop approving line-speed waivers which are inhumane and also endanger the workers who are already at risk.

Read more about animal welfare during coronavirus in One Green Planet. Check out these articles:

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