Speeding Up Slaughter Lines Would Hurt Workers Too — But the Industry Doesn’t Care About Them Either

The National Chicken Council (NCC) wants the USDA to allow poultry companies to kill birds even faster, which is insane, since they’re already allowed to kill birds at a rate of 140 per minute. This month we asked you to tell the USDA in its comment portal not to approve NCC’s petition to increase slaughter line speeds. You still have until December 13 to submit your comment and take a stand against the animal suffering and environmental damage the proposal would cause.

NCC’s proposal would also endanger the often-exploited slaughterhouse workers. In addition to a soaring PTSD rate, poultry slaughter workers suffer an injury rate six times higher than the average for all U.S. industries. And the Government Accountability Office recently released a report showing how speeding up slaughter lines would make their jobs even more dangerous.

The new report finds that workers are already under so much pressure that many fear taking bathroom breaks. The report also reveals that workers worry they’ll lose their jobs if they report injuries to supervisors, which means that the reported injury rate (the one that’s six times higher than that of other industries) is much lower than the actual injury rate. Additionally, the report shows that faster line speeds would further strain workers’ bodies, causing other injuries over time. This is not surprising; current line speeds are already reckless. To maintain a kill rate of 140 birds per minute, workers must grab live chickens from their transport crates and shackle them upside down by their feet at a furious pace. Chickens often suffer broken legs and other trauma as workers struggle to keep up.

So please, if you haven’t already, take a minute to submit your comment to the USDA to oppose NCC’s petition before the deadline on December 13 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. You can say something like this:
I oppose the National Chicken Council’s petition to create a large loophole in poultry slaughter line speed limits. Increasing poultry slaughter line speeds would cause even more cruelty to chickens, increase worker injuries, and create unnecessary food safety risks. This petition does nothing for citizens and is only about increasing profits for a $90 billion industry. You must reject the National Chicken Council’s petition immediately.
Millions of birds’ lives are at stake. And those tasked with doing this dangerous job stand to suffer as well.

Click here to see the comment submitted by Mercy For Animals, the Animal Welfare Institute, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Farm Forward, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Compassion Over Killing, and The Humane Society of the United States addressing the animal welfare and worker safety problems posed by the NCC proposal. Click here to see the comment submitted by MFA and HSUS addressing the environmental concerns of the proposal.

Of course, the best thing you can do to prevent animal suffering is to leave animals off your plate and help end the demand for animal products once and for all.