On Wednesday, “Grim Reapers” lead a protest outside a local Strauss Brands slaughterhouse where 28 employees were reportedly fired simply for requesting that COVID-19 precautions be taken. Slaughterhouses nationally are coronavirus hotspots, with many workers and their families becoming infected and some even dying. Protesters wearing PETA’s “Animal Markets Breed Disease” face masks hold posters proclaiming, “Strauss Brands: Stop Killing Animals and Workers.”
“Filthy, wet, blood- and offal-soaked slaughterhouses are breeding grounds for deadly diseases that jump from animals to humans—they’re the least safe workplaces in the world, even when there’s not a pandemic raging,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Working shoulder to shoulder in a slaughterhouse endangers everyone.”
PETA notes that confining and killing animals for food has been linked to SARS, swine flu, bird flu, and COVID-19—and a new strain of swine flu with “pandemic potential” is now spreading from pigs to humans in China. The meat industry has allowed slaughterhouse workers to face a nearly unchecked spread of the novel coronavirus. Recently, PETA purchased stock in major U.S. and Canadian slaughter companies to urge them to produce and pack exclusively vegan meats.