Dec 1, 2008

On Slaughterhouses - Meat is Murder on Workers Too

On slaughterhouses - and what the truth really is(n't): Here's where I get confused with the double speak often heard from the meat industry: According to this article: slaughterhouses were not removed to circumvent fair labor practices - they were shifted to more rural areas because that's where the livestock are:
"Janet Riley, a vice president of the American Meat Institute, acknowledged that her industry relies heavily on immigrant labor. She said that's partly because most meatpacking plants are in rural areas, where American-born workers tend to be scarce. "Foreign-born workers are eager for labor, and they're willing to move to rural areas," she said. Decades ago, most meatpackers were in cities. Even then, Riley said, many of their workers were immigrants looking for a place to start. She disputed many labor activists' contention that the plants moved to the countryside to avoid unions. "They moved out because it made more sense to go out to where the livestock are," she said."
Then we have this conflicting information:
"...just about all of Alabama's 577,000 beef cows will someday be trucked to feedlots and processors more than 1,000 miles away. Some 15,000 cows pass through the Robertsdale Livestock Auction each year, most of them headed for feedlots in Georgia and the Carolinas, the others headed to local farms, where they'll be fattened up and later resold, said manager Harry Bryant."
So which is it? My guess might be best explained here because in truth it has everything to do with not only exploiting the animals but the workers as well... And it's not only the beef industry guilty of worker abuses - the poultry/pig industries are vicious jobs too. To sum up: 1. Most slaughterhouse workers are immigrants - The industry uses the lowliest of people to do the lowliest of jobs on the lowliest of animals... 2. Slaughterhouses prefer to be in rural areas where employees may be picked from a large pool of disadvantaged and *undocumented workers*. 3. Slaughterhouses choose such locations because decent paying jobs are rare thus insuring cheap, non-unionized labor. So - even if you don't care about Animal Rights - even if you think *taste* justifies the killing of billions of sentient beings for epicurean pleasure (as unhealthy as consuming flesh may be)... Do you care about human rights violations? Do you care about fair and equal pay - Do you care about corruption within an industry overseen by FSIS and the USDA? Do you care about repeated offenses ignored by the Department of Labor and the Department of Immigration? Next time you indulge in your *cheap* 99cent burger - you might want to ask yourself is it consistent with your values? Does it reflect honestly with what moral ethics you support? Are you trading compassion for man (and animals) for a pound of flesh? And if all this is incongruent - if you realize that your health suffers, that resources are being wasted, that human and nonhumans are suffering - why not go vegan and align your values with your deeds?

4 comments:

warwak said...

Man dreams of castles in the sky, that are invariably filled with understanding, love, and peace; whereas, man, in reality, erects boxes and soils the earth with apathy, hate, and death. The American dream is a horribly real nightmare that floods the land with illegal immigrants, who, for a pittance, murder unfathomable multitudes of innocent beings in slaughterhouses. The poor migrants learn fast what it means to be American. Hate, violence, and murder are nothing more than commodities, which lost souls sacrifice in exchange for hopes of a better life. The cruelty and murder continue until the pawns are driven insane and become useless, only to be deported or sent into the stream of society with the heaviness of blood and violence and death burdening their minds and hearts, so that we may live the American dream.
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Bea Elliott said...

Thank you Mr. Warwak for a very insightful (yet supressed) look at what we allow on the way to the "American" dream. Shame on us if we don't as a civilized culture, wake up from the moral coma the *meat* industry promotes in the name of "food".

Serenity said...

I know how true this is, I'm from one of those rural areas where there are lots of feedlots and beef packing plants. I knew way too many people who worked there and were as mistreated as the animals! Thanks Bea.

Bea Elliott said...

Yes... your story on feedlots - that's how we "met" :)

From what I'm reading/seeing there isn't a much about the *meat* culture that isn't distasteful...