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Slaughterhouse Violence

Chickens live hung at Maple Leaf Foods, Toronto.JPGA recent article in OHS Canada (Canada’s occupational health and safety magazine) exposes the horrifying reality of the treatment of animals and the working conditions inside a slaughterhouse, as well as how the psychological trauma the workers suffer from infects entire communities.

The relentless pursuit of higher profits by meat processing companies means that over the last three decades, the number of animals slaughtered and processed every hour has gone up between 5 and 10 fold – this is an increase of an astonishing 500% to 1000%! This dramatic rise in line speeds means that more and more animals are improperly stunned before being killed, consequently suffering from extreme pain and fear.

The article mentions many incidents in which chickens are improperly stunned before being plunged alive and conscious into a scalding tank of water, animals who manage to “escape the stunning process [and] end up on the kill floor alive and running around”, and animals who are improperly stunned thrashing about as they are being hoisted up to have their throats slit.

In addition to the physical dangers of working in such a dangerous environment at breakneck speeds–slaughterhouse workers have some the highest injury rates of any industry–the psychological impact on the workers is considerable.

Various studies cited in the article show a direct correlation between slaughterhouse employment and an increase in rape and other sex offences, as well as an overall faster growth rate of violent crimes in communities with meatpacking plants compared to those without. One study states that “the work done within slaughterhouses might spill over to violence against other less powerful groups, such as women and children”.

Not only does a meat-based diet promote cruelty to farmed animals – it also has a very negative impact on the social fabric of many rural communities and on the safety and emotional well-being of many families.

You can help prevent this needless violence and cruelty towards both animals and vulnerable members of our society by following a kind and compassionate plant-based diet. Please visit ChooseVeg.ca to learn more.