We should envision a more resilient and sustainable food system, one that doesn’t commodify sentient life
Slaughterhouses are a breeding ground for disease and hotspots for coronavirus, and dozens closed after thousands of workers became ill. President Trump ordered these operations open, and shielded them from legal liability for exposing disempowered workers to intolerable risks. At the same time, the government is spending $200m per month to support the meat and dairy industries, while agribusiness lobbies for more stimulus money to return to killing as normal. Industrial animal agriculture harms people, animals and the earth, and it should not receive government bailouts. It should be dismantled and replaced. To put it bluntly: it’s time to get used to eating less, or no, meat.
Factory farms and slaughterhouses demand a continuous supply of low paid, deemed expendable workers to perform dangerous and difficult tasks. To meet this need, agribusiness has obtained regulatory accommodations to exploit immigrant and prison labor. Still, the industry has faced chronic labor shortages and their killing capacity could not keep up amid the recent spate of coronavirus infections in slaughterhouse workers, causing slaughter-bound animals to back up in the supply chain. Millions of these innocent creatures have been euphemistically “depopulated,” meaning killed and discarded. These deaths are tragic, but so are the billions of needless deaths that occur in the normal course of business. We can live well without exploiting and consuming other animals.
Read more: theguardian.com