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The Debate That Has Been Stirring

The debate that has been stirring for sometime now is whether or not it is acceptable to overlook some moral and physical issues so that the slaughter houses are making more money. Experts believe that they knew more efficient model of slaughter houses can even cause cancer. What must be decided upon is if it is plausible to overlook these possible side effects in order for a more efficient process. It is never right to value material objects such as money over people’s well being, and this essay will show why this is exactly what the new slaughterhouses are doing.

The way that slaughterhouses different from older approaches to butchering animals is that slaughterhouses butcher in large quantities. Before mass slaughterhouses butchers were limited to only butchering so many animals at one time due to a limit on manpower. Now that machines are slaughtering animals the process is much faster, but the process is also much filthier and causes much more environmental harm. An example of this is a slaughterhouse that is to be built in the Illinois river town East Moline. While the proposed facility would create about “two thousand five hundred jobs in an area where unemployment has doubled in five years”(Eng,M.), the negatives to constructing the slaughterhouse still outweigh the positives. “Critics say that the plant would encourage an influx of large hog farms that would contribute to environmental problems and wipe out smaller operations”(Eng,M.). The factory farms that are used to supply the slaughterhouses tend to take tremendous tolls on the environment. These large factory farms, while holding a lot of animals, also tend to produce a lot of manure. This manure is then in turn dumped into nearby streams or river or otherwise not properly taken care of. Not to mention the fact that these large scale slaughterhouses destroy local businesses. It puts smaller more local based farming and butchering businesses searching for work. It is not only harming the environment but also taking away from the economy. As farmer Art Norris puts it “So they get the meat, and we get the waste that they leave behind”(Eng,M.).

The International Agency for Research on cancer recently conducted a study on red meat and processed meat. “Processed meat was classified to as carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence in humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer”(World Health Organization). Not only did they find out that processed meat was carcinogenic to humans but also “They classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans.” What exactly does this say about slaughterhouses? Why would they keep producing these products knowing exactly what they are feeding to the public? This is a simple answer, money. The slaughterhouses are run by business men and women that are more concerned with the efficiency of the money being put in their pockets than the health of the general public. There is no other reasonable explanation for why they would continually poison the public.

Not only does this meat make people susceptible to cancer, but it also raises their risk of diabetes. The new method raises a risk for type 2 diabetes that before had not been a problem. A study by the University of Eastern Finland states “The researchers found that plant protein was associated with a lower risk of type two diabetes, while persons with a diet rich in meat had a higher risk”(World Health Organization). Essentially the new process not only can cause cancer but also highers the risk for type two diabetes by tampering with the natural proteins in meat. This tampering is taking place due to the uncleanliness of the environment that the meat is being handled in. If one slab of meat is infected then not only is the meat around it exposed but also any other meat that passes through due to the unclean nature of the slaughterhouses.

A former undercover investigator said this about Quality Pork Processors, one of the fastest pig killing plants in the nation, “I documented pig carcasses covered in feces and abscesses being processed for human consumption, and workers – under intense pressure to keep up with high line speeds – beating, dragging, and electrically prodding pigs to make them move faster”(David,S.). These workers and mass production companies are not worried about cleanliness or value of the pigs. They are only worried about efficiency because it produces money. He even goes on to talk about how they don’t take the time to take the sick or diseased pigs out of the group before they are slaughtered. When business begins to go from small business is to large corporations changes were made. It becomes less about the people that are being served and it becomes more about the amount of money that can be brought in. Now obviously even small businesses are concerned with money but small businesses are more in touch and have a better relationship with their customers so they are more likely to do things the right way. Mr. David even reported one worker saying that if the USDA came around that they plant would be shut down. This is big news especially since this is one of the most efficient slaughterhouses in the United States. David also states that workers must take violent shortcuts to make sure they keep up with needed production. The workers are being forced to work under stressful conditions to meet the necessary production. All simply to beat the competition? The competition between these large brand companies is putting people at risk for serious diseases do to improper handling of the pigs and the meat.

Not only can slaughterhouses be dangerous for the consumers, but the slaughterhouses can also be dangerous for the workers. “The costs of working at meatpacking plants are not offset by the low pay; and worse, many worker sacrifice their bodies on the production line. With line speeds twice as fast as forty years ago, the stress of repetitive cutting motions can lead to serious injuries. Injuries from cutting equipment, slippery floors, and from exposure to chemicals are common”(GRACE). The workers are not even benefiting from the shortcuts they are taking. Only those at the head of the company are. So not only is the consumer being hurt but also the workers are being hurt by the faster production lines of the slaughterhouses.

Another key factor in the poor quality of the meat is due to how poorly the animals are treated on the way to the slaughter house. “Due to cross breeding, there is a recessive gene in pigs called ‘halotano’ that increases their susceptibility to stress. The pigs who have this gene will be especially susceptible and will feel greater anxiety during transport” (O. Swarbrick). Due to the high levels of stress the animals receive on the way to the slaughterhouse can reduce the quality of meat by making the animals more prone to injury or disease. This also contributes to the bad meat being handled in the slaughterhouse.

In conclusion, this paper has shown how there is no possible way that they money could outweigh all the negative effects caused by fast working mass production slaughter houses. Smaller butcher shops are better at eliminating these problems because they are more thorough with how they complete their process and how they handle the meat. The animals are put under less stress making them less prone to disease and injury. The answer is no. The slaughterhouses are not worth the money after looking at all the evidence.

Freelance Writer

I’m a freelance writer with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Boston University. My work has been featured in publications like the L.A. Times, U.S. News and World Report, Farther Finance, Teen Vogue, Grammarly, The Startup, Mashable, Insider, Forbes, Writer (formerly Qordoba), MarketWatch, CNBC, and USA Today, among others.