Before to the bone. The production lines are
Before you bite into that hamburger, take a moment and picture a place where half sliced cattle are hanging from an overhead trolley. They are headed towards workers who grab the meat with large metal hooks, and then slice away at the meat, with humongous knives. They work hard and use all of their strength to carve the meat and slice it off the bone.These huge metal hooks and knives are extremely sharp and can cause serious injuries in a matter of seconds. This is one example of how dangerous conditions can be in meat slaughterhouses. They are places that can cause, and have caused, serious injuries and sometimes even death to employees working there. In addition, animals sent to slaughterhouses are sometimes abused, and in the weeks leading up to their death they are not taken care of properly. These issues have been ignored for far too long and must be addressed to stop innocent people and animals from paying the consequences. Employees in meat slaughterhouses are worked to the bone. The production lines are usually run at an unsafe speed so the plant can maximize the amount of cattle being produced. In some meat slaughterhouses as many as 400 cattle are slaughtered every hour. These fast paces lead workers to be susceptible to injury. They are in constant motion trying to keep up with everything happening around them, and when people are rushing, in confined spaces, and holding sharp knives bad things are bound to happen. Workers at meatpacking factories are paid very low wages considering all they do. As a matter of fact, the meatpacking industry used to be one of the highest paying factory jobs in the country, but has now become one of the lowest paying. This is hardly fair since the workers are put in danger almost every day. Workers most often suffer cuts caused by an accidental stab from someone else or themselves, but they can also develop back and shoulder problems. They can get wrist pain and their fingers can get locked in a curled position giving them “trigger finger”. If a worker’s knife is dull it can put additional pressure on their joints, nerves, and muscles. But this isn’t the worst of it. The OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) writes reports on the causes of serious injuries suffered by workers. In the book Chew On This, examples of the titles of these reports are given. Some are as follows: Employee Hospitalized for Neck Laceration from Flying Blade, Employee’s Arm Amputated When Caught in Meat Tenderizer, Employee’s Fingers Amputated In Chitlin Machine, Employee Killed When Head Crushed by Conveyor, Caught and Killed by Gut-Cooker Machine. There is always a risk of an injury that will change someone’s life forever. The OSHA is supposed to do inspections of these factories to make sure workers are in safe conditions, but due to the meatpacking industries’ friends in Congress inspections are rare and OSHA fines are kept low. Workers in the meatpacking industry have almost no rights. Many workers are poor, usually illegal immigrants who can’t get a better job, and need some form of work to support their families. They can be fired if they speak out or report an injury, and for them that is not an option. They keep quiet and their silence is usually rewarded by a supervisor. Some people might think animals at slaughterhouses have it better than the workers. But that is 100% wrong. At slaughterhouses animals can sometimes be killed in a way that makes them suffer. During their lifetime they can live in pain and be cooped up, never being able to roam free or even go outside. For example, in the months before cattle are sent to be slaughtered they live in feedlots. In these feedlots the cattle live in unnatural conditions. They are also fed unnatural diets. A pair of feedlots in Weld County each hold about 100,000 cattle. The animals are very crowded and are given special grain to eat that is designed to fatten them up quickly. For chickens, they live in chicken houses on individual farmers land, but are owned by the large manufacturers like Tyson. These chickens live inside the chicken houses until the day they die, and while they live there they are fed feed that is made up of whatever will fatten them up quickly for the least amount of money. In addition, the chickens raised for the fast food companies are bred to have unnaturally large breasts and reach maturity in a short time. Some chickens grow breasts that are so large it makes it hard to walk. Their legs become crooked from all the weight and fill with fluid, causing them constant pain. Chickens nowadays are even have heart problems. They are too fat and don’t have any opportunity to exercise. As talked about in the book Chew On This at one chicken slaughterhouse named Pilgrim’s Pride chickens are shackled upside down by their legs, and some break their legs from trying to wiggle free. They are then carried by the conveyor belt to a tank of water charged with electricity. The birds are dunked into the water, and are knocked unconscious. Some chickens are able to avoid the water or are not shocked properly, coming out of the water wide awake and forced to suffer more. Next the chickens throats are slit by a sharp rotating blade. The few chickens that manage to somehow avoid the blade are then boiled alive by a tank of boiling water meant to remove the chickens’ feathers. Sometimes too many chickens arrive at Pilgrims Pride and there isn’t enough time for workers to shackle all of the birds legs. Workers sometimes throw leftover birds against the wall and if that doesn’t knock them out, they jumped on the chickens and throw them against the wall again. Meat slaughterhouses are places that can cause pain and suffering to animals and people. They are dangerous for and need to be properly monitored to protect the innocent workers and animals there. I’m not asking you to stop eating meat, but we need to take time to think about where are food is coming from. We need to take a stand, so we can change the way our food is being processed. I truly believe that if we make it a priority to help change the conditions of meat slaughterhouses, and make sure the animals have a better life, everyone will benefit. And we will live in a healthier and happier world.