According to a recent article in The Guardian, the meat industry sees on average two human amputations a week, making jobs in the meat industry some of the most dangerous in America.
Amputations, broken fingers, severe burns, and head trauma are just some of the common injuries suffered by U.S. meat industry workers every week. In fact, these workers are reportedly three times more likely to suffer serious injury than the average American worker, with pork and beef slaughterhouse workers nearly seven times more likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration received 270 incidents in a 31-month period spanning 2015 to 2017. The majority of the incidents involved amputations of fingers, but there were records of lost feet and limbs, such as arms. This period saw a total of 550 serious injuries, which came from 22 of the 50 states, meaning the nationwide total is substantially higher.
One of the more graphic incidents reported involved a sanitation crew employee climbing down from a machine after removing parts from the upper portion. The employee placed one foot into a horizontal grinder, losing all five toes.
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 not only sustain severe injuries but suffer 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.
The conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses are dangerous not only for humans but for animals. From throwing chicks into macerators to tearing baby cows from their mothers, the meat, dairy, and egg industries routinely abuse animals. What’s worse, this systematic torture is 100 percent legal.
It’s easy to blame workers for how animals are treated, but most workers have little power over how things are done. And while it’s certainly true that animals pay the ultimate price, farmworkers are oppressed by the same system that values profit over all else.
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