How Abattoirs Violate Human Rights

Posted by on June 15, 2020 | Permalink

Animals exploited for their flesh are subjected to unbelievable horrors at abattoirs. They’re often scalded to death or dismembered while they’re still conscious. And while those animals are tormented and butchered, humans in that bloody environment are suffering, too.

Animal rights and human rights go hand in hand.

 Mental Health

Working at an abattoir has been linked to various mental health problems. Records show that many workers grapple with suicidal thoughts and depression. It’s no surprise that this kind of work takes a mental toll – the animals workers are killing are, after all, terrified and fighting for their lives in the same way the cats and dogs with whom we share our homes would.

As one man who works in a pig abattoir put it to The Guardian, “Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe.”

In a BBC article, one former abattoir worker speaks on mental health:

“I personally suffered from depression, a condition exacerbated by the long hours, the relentless work, and being surrounded by death. . . . I felt like the horrific things I was seeing had clouded my thinking, and I was in a full-blown state of depression.”

The psychological impact of killing other living beings should not be underestimated. There’s a reason why most people don’t want to see what’s happening in abattoirs, even though they know that’s where the animals whose flesh they eat are killed. As Paul McCartney put it, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

Dire Working Conditions

An investigation into the UK meat industry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found evidence of widespread mistreatment and exploitation of workers – in particular, migrant workers – at abattoirs and on factory farms, including discrimination, bullying, physical abuse by managers, and unsafe working conditions.

Some workers were forced to work 90 hours a week, and pregnant women were made to stand for long hours and perform heavy lifting and were denied the right to go to the toilet. These workers are typically some of the poorest and most exploited people – because it’s a job that nobody wants to do.

And workers often become sick or are injured because of the unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. In Ireland, COVID-19 is sweeping through blood-soaked, offal-strewn meat-processing plants and endangering workers, their families, and the whole community. Yet these places remain open.

What You Can Do

If you can’t bear the thought of what’s happening at abattoirs, don’t support the meat industry. Animal agriculture not only is responsible for horrendous cruelty to animals and putting the lives of workers at risk but also breeds deadly pandemics and is destroying the planet. 

No one needs to eat meat. There are so many delicious and nutritious vegan options available that choosing a compassionate lifestyle couldn’t be easier. Order our free vegan starter kit now for meal plans and tips: