Republican lawmakers and the chicken industry are lobbying the USDA to allow factory workers to kill more chickens per minute. President Obama previously rejected the request after determining it would increase the risk of workplace injuries and food contamination. Animal welfare advocates also condemned the move.
Republican members of Congress and the National Chicken Council (NCC) are hopeful that the USDA will now acquiesce given the new administration’s deregulatory stance.
The NCC asked the USDA to allow factory workers to operate at any speed to kill as many chickens as they can per minute. In a letter to the USDA, the NCC asks them to “waive the line speed limitation” to at least “175 bpm.” Bpm is the industry term for birds per minute. It provides dreadful insight into the callous nature of animal agriculture. Birds with the same emotions as dogs and cats are commodities that are processed like winning Super Bowl team t-shirts.
Animal agriculture companies have a terrible history of workplace accidents. Out of more than 14,000 companies, Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride rank in the top 10 for workplace injuries on the OSHA severe injury report. These factory workers are often provided insufficient training and protective gear and injure themselves while using sharp knives, scissors, and acidic chemicals. Speeding up the pace of their work will only contribute to the frequency of those injuries.
Health concerns also abound. Which consumers of dead chickens would be satisfied with line workers checking more than two bird carcasses per second for fecal contamination, diseases, and other defects? That’s the current pace — and the industry wants them to go faster. It’s a total disregard for consumers’ health in order to increase profits. That’s often the nature of food deregulation.
The Trump administration is also currently considering a proposal to increase the cap on the number of pigs killed per hour in a facility from 1,000 to 1,300.
Instead of killing more animals faster, the USDA should move to kill the industry and accept this proposal to fund and promote healthier, sustainable, and humane plant-based and clean meat. Why isn’t it happening? The worst kept secret.
Given USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue’s embrace of animal agriculture and the current administration’s efforts to let businesses operate unfettered by common sense regulations that protect consumers, air and water quality, and in this case, workers and animals, the USDA will likely grant NCC’s request.
This is the U.S. government at work. This is animal agriculture. And this is why people should stop eating animals.