The campaign to expose the harmful, violent, and destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

PAINED KILLERS: ‘Zombies’ of the slaughterhouse

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Slaughterhouse workers, after all, must kill and break down multiple animals every hour, day after day, at great physical and psychological toll to themselves.

MATTHEW WILLS: Covid took a big toll on workers in America’s slaughterhouses, yet even in the best of times, meat factories are some of the most dangerous places to work in the nation. A workforce disproportionately made up of people of color, immigrants, and refugees bears the brunt of a global desire—for instance, nearly a third of US pork products are exported—for cheap meat. Every year American abattoirs kill and break down ten billion animals. Little attention is paid to the cost in human or animal suffering.

It’s the intersection of human and animal abuse that concerns scholar Stephanie Marek Muller. Noting that labor/human rights and animal liberation critiques often ignore, talk over, or even blame each other in arguing who has it worse, Muller argues that the “rhetorical ‘weighing’ of such oppressions is ultimately counterproductive to the aims of intersectional, interspecies justice”…

Workers are not “marched to their literal deaths like the animal inhabitants inside the slaughterhouse,” writes Muller. But their disenfranchisement, alienation, “intense vulnerability” and “institutional marginality” can result in “social death.” Sociologist Orland Patterson defined social death” as the condition of slaves and other marginalized, exploited people who are not considered fully human by wider society.

Slaughterhouse workers, after all, must kill and break down multiple animals every hour, day after day, at great physical and psychological toll to themselves, while consumers keep up their demand for burgers and chicken nuggets. Muller argues that social death could also be called zombification, a death-in-life…

That’s the “bloody deaths, mangled flesh” of all the lifeforms in the slaughterhouse, she observes. “By the end of one’s employment in an abattoir, many have incurred irreversible bodily damage.” Both humans and factory-farm-raised creatures alike are expendable: “inferior, unprotected, and killable beings”. SOURCE…

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