According to The Washington Post, the Trump administration is going to allow chicken slaughterhouses to operate at faster speeds, hurting animals, workers, and the environment.
Facilities that meet the new criteria and receive a waiver from the administration will be permitted to process up to 175 birds per minute—this is up from 140 per minute.
It should come as no surprise that the National Chicken Council, an industry group, is praising the decision. Last year the NCC petitioned the USDA to create a loophole that would enable some chicken slaughterhouses to kill as many birds per minute as they’d like.
Shortly after filing the petition, over a hundred thousand concerned citizens submitted comments to the USDA voicing their concerns. Earlier this year, the USDA announced that it would keep the current speed limits but that it planned to set up a waiver process open to all companies.
By allowing this new speed and bowing to corporate pressures, the Trump administration made clear that it doesn’t care about animals, food safety, and workers.
A report by BuzzFeed News revealed that on average one employee a month is injured by equipment and loses a finger or limb at a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse. The injury rate for poultry slaughter workers is reportedly six times higher than the average for other industries, a statistic that is probably low, as numerous investigations have found that underreporting of injuries is rampant.
As if endangering workers weren’t terrible enough, speeding up slaughter lines would result in even more abusive handling of birds, including improper shackling and failed stunning and killing. As it is, scientists believe over a million chickens a year are boiled alive and fully conscious because they are not properly stunned and killed before entering scalding tanks. Additionally, USDA inspection records obtained by public records requests have documented chickens entering scalding tanks and chickens shackled by a single leg having their flailing leg cut off by the beheading machines—also while fully conscious.
A 2015 Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse exposed horrific cruelty, including chickens having their heads ripped off while the birds were still alive.
See for yourself.
Thankfully, you have a lot more power than you think. The best way to prevent animal suffering is to leave animals off your plate. Together, we can one day eliminate slaughter lines altogether.
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