Slaughterhouses are breeding grounds for disease, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, communities around slaughterhouses and factory farms are being decimated by the virus. But instead of closing down, slowing lines or providing adequate personal protective equipment, Tyson Foods managers are taking bets on how many workers will test positive for the deadly virus.
In a lawsuit filed in November, the son of a Tyson employee who died from COVID-19 alleges that managers of the company’s Waterloo facility had a winner-take-all betting pool on how many workers would test positive. The suit also alleges that supervisors were explicitly told to show up for work even if they were exhibiting symptoms of the virus, and to encourage workers to do the same.
The managers in question were reportedly suspended, but clearly that’s not enough. Tyson Foods has a systemic problem with cruelty.
Workers have enough to contend with during this pandemic without managers and supervisors disturbingly encouraging the spread of COVID-19. On recklessly fast slaughter lines, social distancing is virtually impossible. Workers stand shoulder to shoulder in the “live hang” room, racing to shackle 24 birds per minute. There’s no way to social distance and keep the line moving at that speed.
But Tyson Foods has a tradition of torture. Our undercover investigation of a factory farm supplying Tyson revealed gut-wrenching cruelties including the blatant abuse of birds and the barbaric results of “rapid growth:” selectively breeding chickens to make them grow bigger, faster — all in the name of Tyson’s bottom line.
Our 2016 investigation at another facility showed more of the same: workers punching, kicking and throwing live birds, birds crushed by forklifts, and more.
If Tyson has no regard for innocent animals, can we really expect the company to care for its workers, forced to perform traumatizing killing day in and day out at the expense of their physical and emotional well-being?
Tyson’s bottom line relies on harming animals and workers in the name of profit. Here’s ours: We cannot control this pandemic or protect human and non-human animals while slaughter lines keep running. Protecting your neighbor doesn’t just mean wearing a mask or staying indoors, it means divesting from the cruel industry that has contributed to this global crisis from the beginning.
Try vegan today by visiting TryVeg.com for helpful tips and recipes. You can also take action by helping us celebrate 25 years of fighting animal agriculture with a gift at animaloutlook.org/donate. All donations made now through the end of the year will be doubled thanks to five generous donors who established a matching fund as part of our 25th anniversary celebration.