Report: Meat Industry Workers Suffering Severe Injuries

With knives, blades, grinding machines and other hazardous equipment surrounding you — plus fast-paced, profit-driven line speeds — meat processing can be an extremely dangerous job, according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

As Compassion Over Killing’s undercover investigations have revealed time after time, profit is the bottom line in animal agribusiness. Cheap meat is produced as quickly as possible, jeopardizing animal welfare as well as worker and food safety.

COK’s newest investigation, exposing heartbreaking cruelty to mother cows at a dairy factory farm, also exposed worker safety concerns, as farm workers handled hazardous formaldehyde without protective gear. And have you seen our video exposing the USDA’s dangerous and cruel high-speed slaughter, reduced inspection pilot program?

The alarming new NELP report, tracking severe workplace injuries January 2015-September 2016, states: The number of incidents reported by the meat and poultry processing industry is startling.”

And several companies at which COK has exposed animal cruelty (or at their suppliers), made the list, including:

As if these figures aren’t alarming already, data from major meat states that are regulated by state (rather than federal) OSHA agencies, are not included. This means the meat industry’s toll on workers is likely much higher.

The poultry industry, where workers suffer illness and injury at 1.6 times the rate of other workers, was specifically highlighted as having some of the worst numbers — higher than “much of the construction industry, the auto industry, the steel industry, saw mills, and many other high-risk industries.

At Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride, workers suffered finger and hand amputations, fractured hips, and chemical burns.

Cargill ranked #14 in severe injuries. Meanwhile, the major beef producer recently made headlines for selling all of its cattle feeding yards as it explores plant-based proteins.

Will companies move toward food that is kinder to animals, workers, and the planet? Cargill isn’t the only company recognizing the ever-growing consumer demand for meatless options. Tyson’s CEO even recently said that plant-based demand is outpacing meat!

You can opt out of supporting the industry’s reckless disregard for both animals and worker safety. Choose veg! We can help you get started.