We’ve been here before. Another look at slaughterhouses (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-12-29/america-s-worst-graveyard-shift-is-grinding-up-workers) and more of the same findings. Animal killing and processing companies find amazing loopholes to exploit people – low wages, high risk of injury or mortality, near-zero accountability. This would be just another story on the topic, but there are some notes worth pointing out.
Government’s complicity is not to be overlooked here – “OSHA’s power has always lain more in its capacity to shame than punish. The fines for serious safety violations seldom exceed $20,000, a trifle for most manufacturers.” This is in the same vein of thought as regulations are bad, industry will regulate itself. But, corporations are not people. They cannot be shamed.
It’s incredible that some people consider shame a legitimate punishment for companies that maim or kill employees. Just try that logic elsewhere – at a murder trial, for example. Furthermore, if maiming and killing increases productivity and profits, it truly is in the corporations best interests. The corporation will ony respond when it is bad for business, and for most of these companies, OSHA fines are a cost of doing business.
At the same time, government inspectors are hamstrung by bureaucracy. Meat companies are emboldened by how toothless OSHA is, which leads to incidents like this. The poultry company, Mar-Jac’s attorney said, “the inspector could walk through the plant to the locker room where the tools were located, but only if he agreed to wear a cardboard box over his head to blind him to any safety hazards.” The attorney’s logic here being that the company has a number of additional violations going on in the plant, and could the OSHA inspector please not notice them? In this case the inspector refused to wear the box, and when OSHA subsequently issued a search warrant, the meat company requested a judge quash it. And guess what? The judge did. The search warrant ruling is pending an appeal. No doubt giving the meat company ample time to clean house.
Certainly, the fruit and vegetable industry has its problems. For decades, people that harvest the food we eat have fought for their rights, but the meat industry is next level insanity.
And, as crazy as it seems, it all sorta makes sense. An industry that is predicated on the abuse and killing of sentient beings for profit is likely to see the edges blur. When do people, like animals, become a commodity?