May 18, 2009

Buddhist Refugees Find Slaughterhouse Jobs

As our economic woes seem to worsen... and unemployment rates continue to rise - It's interesting to note that the JBS USA meatpacking plant will be hiring refugees from Myanmar (a small country the size of Texas, on the outskirts of China). These newcomers are scheduled for a meeting that will discuss their language, beliefs and culture. 85% of Myanmar citizens are Buddhist. In 2007 there was a peaceful protests which ballooned over several weeks, and Buddhist monks joined the throngs of protesters when government troops used force and wrongfully imprisoned demonstrators. So doesn't it figure - that these ravaged and disadvantaged people should make their way here to find jobs in slaughterhouses? I know there are those that will say that at least it's better than where they were... but how "fair" is it here anyway... working in a meat packing plant? According to the National Average Wage Index the average person earns $40,405.48/year. Contrast this with the offerings of any slaughterhouse - which is $17,820 per year. I don't know why they just don't call it "minimum wage"... unless of course it's even less than minimum wage after deductions are made for the worker's clothing, equipment and safety supplies. And although the industry claims it prefers to hire high school grads... it's doubtful that these refugees from thousands of miles away will even speak English - but they are hired nonetheless. A meat packer's job would include the use of several kinds of knives, cleavers, and saws... they might be "stunners" or "stickers".... Or they might be further down the bleed rail where they will pressure steam the animal in an attempt to remove e-coli bacteria from the hair before evisceration. Other chemical are also used in this stage including acid washes, sodium chloride, chloride dioxide, potassium lactate... but these are used sparingly as they are damaging to floors... oh yeah, and also to the workers using these chemicals. But this is what it takes to get cheap meat to the plate... Willing desperate workers, fair wages slave labor, and happy animals captive, terrified, murdered beings. Two kinds of people work these jobs... the ones who have no choice because they are impoverished... and those who actually enjoy it. Either way, if you're eating meat, they are in your employment. End the cycle of exploitation... Be mindful... Go Vegan.

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