Paul McCartney, a former Beatle and longtime vegetarian, famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
Although one of the most well-known quotes in the animal compassion movement, it took the team behind Planted Foods—a Swiss food tech company dedicated to ending animal suffering through tasty plant-based alternatives to meat—to run with the idea.
Convinced that the food industry needed to be more transparent about its cruelty-free ingredients and processes, Planted Foods made this quote literal by building an enormous glasshouse around their production in the heart of their Switzerland-based factory.
Slaughterhouses are often miles away from urban centers, guarded by impenetrable walls and perplexing laws. To date, the primary means of drawing attention to the non-transparency of the industry has been through activists sneaking out footage of terrible conditions experienced by animals and practices the slaughterhouse workers endure.
Planted’s Co-Founder Pascal Bieri says, “Unlike the animal meat industry, we have nothing to hide.” Open, airy, and entirely transparent, their factory and ethos is a sharp contrast to the efforts of meat manufacturers to hide the harshness of their production processes from consumers.
Slaughterhouses kill more than just animals. Meatpacking plants, along with prisons, have become the nation’s leading hot spots for the spread of COVID-19 infections.
Thousands of meatpacking workers have fallen ill, many have died. Virus outbreaks at meatpacking plants have lead to the virus spreading more widely in surrounding communities, said Nicholas Christakis, director of Yale University’s Human Nature Lab and a specialist in how contagion travels through social networks.
While we wrote back in June 2020 about Covid 19 spreading in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, we now know so much more about how the virus spreads in these places. Slaughterhouses and meat processing plants are favorable environments for SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The virus thrives in lower temperatures and in very high or very low relative humidity. Metallic surfaces retain live viruses. Aerosols, densely combining dust, feathers, and feces, are produced in the plants, and intense water use carries materials extensively over surfaces. Workers must speak loudly or shout over the noise, releasing more droplets and spreading them further. Workplaces are crowded, and social distancing is difficult. The plight of the slaughterhouse workers was already dire, but this just puts another layer on their hardship.
It’s often been said that if slaughterhouses had glass walls we’d all be vegetarians. But, that gives rise to another question: what about actually slaughtering the animal yourself? Would you eat meat if you had to kill the animal yourself?
The disconnect between enjoying meat and loving animals is one that gives many pause for thought. Read more
The seafood industry in Thailand suffers from widespread worker abuse amounting to slavery, according to a recent report by the nonprofit organization Verité. Virtually all American and European companies that buy seafood from Thailand are at risk of receiving products tainted by slavery, according to this report, which was released on Monday. The report catalogs deceptive recruitment practices, hazardous working conditions and very severe violence on fishing boats and in processing factories.
Most of Thailand’s seafood workers are migrants from neighboring Cambodia or Burma, brought into Thailand illegally by traffickers, provided fake documents and often actually sold to boat captains, the report said. On fishing boats, these workers routinely face limited access to medical care for injuries or infection, work 16 hour days, seven days a week, endure chronic sleep deprivation, and suffer from an insufficient supply of water for drinking, showering or cooking, the report found. They are not free to quit or leave. Often they are “kept” for year or even extended periods of time. The evidence of abuse is often just buried at sea. One Burmese worker said, “When someone dies, he gets thrown into the water.”
We reported on this sad state of affairs two years ago with the hope that conditions would improve. The Thai ambassador to the US says they take the problem seriously, but while they have clamped down a bit, it’s still not nearly enough.
Other human casualties of the animal products industry include those who work in slaughterhouses. While there’s no suggestion of slavery, slaughterhouse workers also face well documented abuses and very dangerous working conditions.
While authorities try to improve these problems, the best answer is to go veg. You’ll not only stop supporting worker abuse, but you’ll help the animals and the environment as well.