Friday, August 5


"Faster, faster, get that product out the door!" is the industry byword. The results are cuts, amputations, skin disease, permanent arm and shoulder damage, and even death from the force of repeated hard cutting motions. When injured employees seek workers' compensation claims for their juries, they are told, "You got hurt at home, not on the job."

Sound familiar? Yes, of course, it's meatpacking, the most dangerous factory job in America, which once again has caused hand-wringing among the pundit class because workers are treated so terribly. Never mind how animals are treated - for some reason that's an unexamined given, but the abuse of people is a separate, newsworthy phenomenon. "The meatpacking industry has shown little inclination to respect its workers' rights on its own. Congress and the Bush administration should take decisive steps to protect the lives and well-being of these men and women. But they are unlikely to act until consumers demand meat that is not tainted by workers' blood, sweat and fear."

Uh, yeah. And how soon are consumers gonna demand that? Probably right around when they demand food that's not tainted by animals' blood, sweat and fear - which is to say, never, unless a great many people in this country suddenly wake up. Does this writer for Human Rights Watch really not get the fact that Americans refuse to think about how "meat" got from being an animal to being on their fork? Does this writer really not grasp that it's exactly that strained, desperate apathy among the public that enables meat companies to get away with the worst human-rights abuses of any top-tier industry? Cruelty begets cruelty, folks. Secrecy begets ignorance. An honest, transparent, fair system for those whose job is to needlessly kill sentient beings is as likely as a war without death. Ain't gonna happen.

1 comment:

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