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Slaughterhouses Prey on the Most Vulnerable Humans and Nonhumans Alike

August 26, 2019

Photo by David Taffet, Source Free From Harm

Source Free From Harm
By Ashley Capps

Slaughterhouses prey on the most vulnerable beings in our society; this includes not only the billions of helpless animals trapped in our violent food system, but also millions of vulnerable humans trapped in the only jobs they can secure. What many don’t know is that slaughterhouses deliberately and knowingly employ — often even recruit — high rates of undocumented workers in order to fill low-paying jobs that entail such undignified and dangerous working conditions, and require such horrific routine violence toward animals, that only humans in the most vulnerable and desperate of circumstances will typically take them.

The recent ICE raids in Mississippi are a devastating case in point. For the 700 undocumented workers arrested by ICE at chicken slaughterhouses across Mississippi, “the trouble is just beginning,” writes Gaby Del Valle. “They don’t just have to fight to stay in the country. They also need to figure out how to afford rent, bills, and groceries for their families while they wait for their cases to be completed. That could take months or even years.”

In 2013, an estimated 38 percent of slaughterhouse workers were born outside the U.S. According to author Mark Hawthorne, most of these are economic refugees in desperate circumstances, usually with families to feed, “and the ever-present threat of deportation keeps many of them, for whom even a bad job is a job, silent and disempowered… they do not understand they have rights, such as workers’ compensation benefits to cover work-related injuries.”

Dr. Michelle Martin, professor of Social Work at California State University, asserts that as many as 70% of the roughly 2.5 million farm workers in the U.S. are estimated to be undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants who were recruited by U.S. agricultural companies from across the border:

“Most undocumented Mexican immigrants came to the United States about 15 to 20 years ago during what’s called the “Chicken Boom” – a time when people cut back on eating red meat and started eating more chicken…

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A bloodsoaked broken metaphor
For the all too many horrors
That we abhor

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Lyons kalmenson permalink
    August 26, 2019 4:52 am

    A bloodsoaked broken metaphor
    For the all too many horrors
    That we abhor

    Liked by 2 people

  2. August 28, 2019 5:12 am

    Another tragic result of abuse by the rich and powerful of this world. We need monumental changes. Thanks for sharing Stacey x

    Liked by 1 person

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