Tuesday, February 8


It's no news to most of us that in addition to being hellish sanctums of death, America's slaughterhouses are exploiting immigrant labor. But now there's an official GAO report (PDF), and the International Herald Tribune introduces it with a bit of refreshing candor: "Most Americans do not want to know how the meat they eat is produced, if only so they can continue to eat it. Nearly every aspect of meat production in America is disturbing, from the way animals are raised, to inadequate inspection of the final product. When it comes to what happens in the slaughterhouse, most consumers mentally avert their eyes." Exactly. It's the fact that we are, as a whole, prissy scaredy-cats unwilling to confront what's going on there that allows animals, human and non-human, to be abused without limit.

The report finds that "some major players in the American meat industry prey upon a large population of immigrant workers who are either ignorant of their fundamental rights or are undocumented aliens who are afraid of calling attention to themselves. As a result, those workers often receive little or no compensation for injuries, and any attempt by them to organize is met with hostility." But their constant, institutionalized suffering of human-rights abuses isn't important - not compared to your ability to easily get cheap fast food that you're used to. Keep your priorities straight!

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