Factory farms, slaughterhouses come under fire on “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”
The last two episodes of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” showed in chilling and vivid detail how abuses in animal agribusiness cause animal suffering and environmental devastation as well as human illness, injury, and death.
The Next Pandemic
Oliver explained how factory farms—and eating meat generally—are likely to cause another pandemic. He pointed out that:
- “Up to 75 percent of new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals”;
- “In factory farms, [animals] are bred and confined in ways that can enable viruses to spread among them much more easily”; and
- “Ninety-nine percent of meats” eaten in the U.S. come from factory farms.
To help prevent another pandemic, Oliver advised: “Close down all wildlife markets, ban factory farming, [and] stop eating meat altogether.”
We agree with John Oliver. Animal Outlook produced this video about how factory farms and live markets are likely to cause the next pandemic, and we work tirelessly to end factory farming and promote a vegan diet by investigating factory farms and slaughterhouses, using the law to fight animal agribusiness and persuading companies to offer fewer animal products and more vegan ones. To learn about the ways “[animals] are bred and confined” in factory farms that worry Oliver, watch these videos by Animal Outlook investigators on chickens, fish, pigs and cows.
Meatpacking workers have some of the highest rates of occupational injury and illness in the country and have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. Oliver explained some of the reasons, such as the fact that line speeds are way too fast—they have doubled since 1979.
Faster slaughter lines cause both catastrophic and chronic injuries to workers, and gruesome suffering to animals: They increase the risk that an attempted stunning won’t work, leaving an animal fully conscious and sensible to pain when she is submerged in scalding water or dismembered.
Animal Outlook is battling increased line speeds in U.S. slaughterhouses on multiple fronts, including a lawsuit challenging the USDA’s decision to eliminate line speed caps in pig slaughterhouses; a letter urging the Biden-Harris administration to reverse increases in slaughter line speeds for birds, pigs, and cows (the new administration proceeded to withdraw a proposed rule to increase chicken slaughter line speeds); and an investigation that documented the horrors at high-speed chicken slaughterhouse Amick Farms.
Thanks to generous supporters, Animal Outlook’s investigators work every day to expose the truth about factory farming. Help make lasting change for animals by supporting our investigators and giving today at animaloutlook.org/donate.
Photo credit: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO)
Piper brings more than 20 years of legal experience to bear as Animal Outlook’s Senior Director of Litigation. Vegetarian since childhood and vegan since the 20th century, she earned her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she successfully lobbied the school to offer its first Animal Law class; that class has since grown into the influential Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program. Piper has taught Animal Law at Brooklyn Law School, and her media appearances on the subject include Fox Business’s Varney & Co. and Our Hen House.