Four Workers Burned at Tyson Slaughterhouse

According to Iowa news station WQAD, four slaughterhouse workers were burned in an accident at a Tyson plant in the central Iowa town of Perry. Chief Deputy Adam Infant of the county sheriff’s office said that the four workers appeared to have been burned by steam.

Two of the workers were flown to the burn center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The other two were treated at the plant.

Tyson Foods, America’s largest meat producer, has an egregious record of exploiting workers. In fact, last year the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods in favor of the workers who sued the company for withholding overtime pay. But withholding pay is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Tyson’s treatment of its workers. Buzzfeed News reported last year that on average, one Tyson employee a month is injured by equipment and loses a finger or limb.

Multiple undercover investigations have exposed how animals at factory farms and slaughterhouses are abused, but many people don’t know that the workers at these facilities are also often abused. Countless reports have highlighted the dangerous and unsanitary conditions workers face at factory farms and slaughterhouses. From being subjected to many workplace hazards to being denied breaks, workers are often mistreated and exploited. They commonly sustain severe injuries and suffer from respiratory illnesses and infections by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In addition to posing physical dangers, the work at factory farms and slaughterhouses often leads to psychological trauma. According to PTSD Journal, many factory farm and slaughterhouse workers must emotionally disconnect from their work to cope with the daily abuse and killing of animals. This emotional dissonance often leads to domestic violence, social withdrawal, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and PTSD. A 2009 study by criminologist Amy Fitzgerald found that, in comparison with other industries, slaughterhouse employment increased total arrest rates, including arrests for violent crimes and rape.

It’s easy to blame workers for how animals are treated, but most workers have little power over how things are done. Extreme confinement, mutilations without painkillers, and ruthless slaughter are not the fault of low-level employees. While it’s certainly true that animals pay the ultimate price, farm and slaughterhouse workers are oppressed by the same corrupt and abusive system that values profit over all else.

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