Industrial Animal Agriculture Abuses Workers – a Reading List

Tackling injustice in industrial animal agriculture culture means advocating for workers. And vice versa.

28 October 2018

Industrial animal agriculture is a disaster for animals, public health, and climate change. I made this reading list to show that tackling injustice in industrial animal culture means advocating for workers. Each source is displayed with a title, some citation information, and a short note.

dairy worker

A worker in a dairy factory farm (from Farm Sanctuary)

Deaths of farmworkers in cow manure ponds put oversight of dairy farms into question

Author Tim Craig
Publication Washington Post
Date 2017-09-24


      Review of outdated regulations, immigrant labor, and dangerous conditions in dairy industry

Factory Farm Workers

Publisher Food Empowerment Project


      Primer on who factory farm workers are, what work conditions are like, what safety hazards are experienced.

Lives on the Line: The high human cost of chicken

Publisher Oxfam America


      Investigation into abuse of workers in poultry industry.

      "reports have documented the unsafe and inhumane conditions poultry workers face—including being denied their legal right to use the bathroom"

Livestock Confinement Dust And Gases

Date June 1992
Publisher National Ag Safety Database


      "Nearly 70% of swine confinement workers experience one or more symptoms of respiratory illness or irritation."

      "Chronic health effects are manifest as chronic bronchitis with or without airways obstruction, experienced by 58% of all swine confinement workers."

Respiratory Disease in Agricultural Workers: Mortality and Morbidity Statistics

Authors Mark Greskevitch, Greg Kullman, Ki Moon Bang, Jacek M. Mazurek
Publication Journal of Agromedicine
Date April 18, 2008


      Livestock farm workers have higher than average mortality rates for hypersensitivity pneumonitis, tuberculosis, asthma, and influenza.

Routinized killing of animals: Going beyond dirty work and prestige to understand the well-being of slaughterhouse workers

Authors Benjamin E. Baran, Steven G. Rogelberg, Thomas Clausen
Publication Organization
Date May 1, 2016


      "slaughterhouse workers consistently experience lower physical and psychological well-being along with increased incidences of negative coping behavior." 

Short Stuff: More Problems for Construction, Poultry Processing, Farms and Whistleblowers. So why doesn't anyone want to work at DOL?

Author Jordan Barab
Date 2017-05-30
Publisher Confined Space


      "poultry processing plant rate of illnesses, such as repetitive motion injuries, is seven times the national average"

They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants

Author Amy Julia Harris, Shoshana Walter
Date 2017-10-04
Publisher Reveal


      Court-ordered 'rehab' led to 200 men being sentenced to do unpaid labor at a poultry plant.

Workplace Safety and Health: Additional Data Needed to Address Continued Hazards in the Meat and Poultry Industry

Author U. S. Government Accountability Office
Date 2016/05/25


      Meat and poultry industries have declining yet consistently higher than average rates of injury in manufacturing.

Note that this list is not comprehensive, and it does not tackle important issues that apply to all of agriculture, such as generally prevalent abuses of farm workers, who are often undocumented and especially likely to be mistreated.

Like climate change, animal abuse, and public health, rights of workers is an important enough cause in its own right to boycott and advocate against industrial animal agriculture. To the same end, people already concerned with animal agriculture must incorporate workers’ rights into their activism.

. filed under inequality, agriculture, workers, animals, and reading.