Don’t Endanger Livestock Animals and Plant Workers With Unsafe Slaughter Practices

Target: Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader of the United States Senate

Goal: Demand stricter regulations on line speeds at slaughterhouses to protect farm animal, worker, and consumer welfare.

High-speed slaughter systems pose serious threats to farm animal welfare, as well as consumer and worker health. Faster line speeds make it more difficult for slaughterhouse workers to abide by humane treatment, stunning, and handling regulations, subjecting animals to greater risks of abuse. Some chicken slaughterhouses allow 175 birds to be killed per minute, while many pig farms have no speed-related regulations, and workers can kill as many animals as they can get their hands on.

During the pandemic, meat processing plants became hotspots for Covid-19, with more than 57,000 meatpacking workers having tested positive for the virus. The failure of meat corporations to provide employees with proper safety equipment and social distancing guidelines combined with line speed increases administered during the Trump era administration proved hazardous for workers’ health.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has justification over line speed legislation. Slaughterhouses are constantly requesting increases in line speed regulations, as the more animals that are killed the more profit they will yield. The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act has been reintroduced to both the House and Senate as a way of counteracting slaughterhouse interests. If passed, this law would require the USDA to suspend all current and future increases in line speeds at meat and poultry establishments, thus prioritizing the safety of frontline workers, consumers, and animals over the greed of large meatpacking corporations.

Sign this petition to demand Congress pass the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act and do more to uphold the welfare standards of farm animals, meat-processing plant workers, and consumers.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Schumer,

Legislation encouraging methods of high-speed slaughter are extremely misguided, as the dangers of high-speed slaughter systems much outweigh the benefits. Faster lines increase the likelihood of animal welfare violations, as they make it more difficult for workers to follow proper animal care and handling procedures. As a result, animals may be improperly stunned before being slaughtered and left conscious during the entire painful process. The speed at which these lines move also make room for greater errors in food sanitation laws, such as an increased probability of food contamination.

Meatpacking workers also suffer as a result. During the pandemic, these processing plants became hotspots for Covid-19, and over 57,000 individuals contracted the virus due to the failure of large corporations to provide their employees with adequate safety equipment and guidelines. Instead, all these companies seem to care about is killing the most animals in the least amount of time. Recently, the reintroduction of the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act to the House and Senate has emerged as a possible reprieve for animals and workers impacted by high-speed slaughter. The suspension of all current and future increases in line speeds at meat and poultry establishments would instate much needed protections that are currently lacking today.

We are asking you, Mr. Schumer, to prioritize the welfare of animals, workers, and consumers over the profit of meat and poultry corporations, and to enact the Safe Line Speeds Act.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Thomas Bjørkan


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