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Garment factory conditions same as factory farms

While the death toll in the Bangladesh garment factory collapse continues to mount, public outrage justifiably grows. Conditions for such workers are appalling: It is stifling hot with no fresh air, there’s no room to move, and there’s no respite from the misery. These exact same conditions also exist on factory farms — both for the workers and the animals.

According to the Department of Labor, nearly one in three slaughterhouse workers suffers from illness or injury every year. Killing animals who do not want to die is inherently dangerous work. Improperly stunned hogs kick and scream as they are drowned in tanks of scalding-hot water. Cows struggle as the skin is ripped from their bodies. Chickens flail as their throats are slit while they’re still conscious.

Even if you are unmoved by the plight of workers or animals, consider this: The same uncaring system that allows workers to suffer also allows carcasses contaminated with feces and vomit, tapeworms and abscesses, to be sent down the line. The meat industry is not going to change, but we can: It’s time to leave the broken bodies of animals off our plates and go vegan. — Jennifer O’Connor, PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.