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Animal agriculture is responsible for countless deaths and tortured lives. Innocent beings are pushed into small confinements, pumped with hormones, and then ultimately murdered. However, livestock are not the only ones who suffer in factory farms and slaughterhouses around the world. Workers are exposed to a plethora of gruesome illnesses, unforgettable images, and are consistently taken advantage of.
Exposed to Disease, Feces, and Medications
Picture stepping into an overcrowded factory farm. The first thing you might notice is the smell. Now imagine having to work there day in and day out. Workers are subjected to piles of animal feces, which attracts insects and rodents. They are also at risk of catching viruses like swine flu or bird flu and being exposed to drug-resistant bacteria.
It’s no secret that nearly all animals are filled with medication to make them more profitable and keep them “healthy”. Animals are given hormones, antibiotics, and drugs to make them gain weight or stop them from getting sick when living in what can only be described as a cesspool. They are regularly sprayed down in this mix of strong substances, which can be ingested by the workers, causing severe health issues.
The animal agriculture industry is considered one of the worst and most dangerous industries to work in. Factory farm and slaughterhouse workers have to deal with dizziness, fever, headaches, nausea, chest pain, allergic reactions, nose bleeds, and even life-threatening cardiac issues as a result of the conditions they work in.
Exploited and Underpaid Migrant Workers
The average worker in a slaughterhouse makes around $25,010 a year, which, for a family of four, is almost low enough to be considered under the poverty line. For an industry that exposes its workers to such horrendous physical and emotional pain, you would think the salary would make up for it in one way or another. Especially since the companies hiring these employees are making billions.
Most workers in this industry are male and people of color, with a significant portion of them being refugees, immigrants, or noncitizens. Many workers also don’t speak English, so expressing their management concerns is difficult, if not impossible.
To make matters worse, factory farm corporations often hire undocumented workers that don’t feel like they can speak up for themselves when deportation is always just a phone call away. If a worker were forced to leave the country, they would be torn apart from their family. The only way they can survive is to deal with the dangerous and depressing work that needs to be done to keep a roof over their family’s head. Hiring undocumented populations makes it much easier for factory farm companies to exploit and threaten workers so they keep working in terrible conditions for little compensation.
Most vegans have sat through at least one nauseating hidden camera video of what goes on in slaughterhouses. The misery and fear are palpable.
The mental effects of killing and taking apart animal after animal while being covered in the blood and organs of their victims are life-altering. There are several reports of severe drug use and criminal behavior. For many, it’s their only way to cope with ending so many animals’ lives every day.
Pushing Indigenous Peoples Off Their Land
Building factory farms often kicks out the communities who live on that land and are typically low-income communities of color. Once the farms are built, they spew pollution into the land and water, attract insects and rodents, putting locals are at risk of livestock-related illnesses, and send a stench into surrounding communities.
In North Carolina, large poultry farms don’t require any permits or environmental impact studies, regardless of the size of the facility. This has had a very negative effect on indigenous peoples whose land has been ruined by greedy, filthy, chicken farms.
Please, Stop Eating Meat
Consuming meat is environmentally unsustainable, devastatingly unethical, and supports the exploitation of the many workers who have no choice but to work in them. Luckily, some revolutionary vegan meat options taste just as good as the real thing without the trauma, disease, and exploitation. So, the next time you’re craving a burger, try out the plant-based option. You might be surprised how much you like it!
- The Human Victims of Factory Farming
- 5 Ways Factory Farming Is Killing the Environment
- Sen. Booker and Rep. DeLauro Introduce Bill to Protect Slaughterhouse Workers
- Meatpackers Sue OSHA for Failing to Protect Workers from COVID-19
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