JaneUnChained’s weekly #BoycottMeat LIVEtalk roundtable brings us the latest breaking news in the fast-growing, global movement to support slaughterhouse workers who are getting sick and dying from COVID-19 as slaughterhouses remain hotbeds of the coronavirus. Those who consider themselves progressive, or even humanitarian, are starting to think twice: is that chicken wing or slice of bacon a choice that makes me complicit in the death of another human being? Watch our latest panel as Joe Enriquez Henry, National Vice President of Forward Latino, brings us up to date on the civil rights complaint just filed with the USDA. It alleges that two of the biggest meatpackers have engaged in racist policies that have “… a discriminatory impact on the predominantly Black, Latino and Asian workforce at the companies’ plants.” The Forward Latino VP specifically alleges that the meatpackers “…aren’t even trying to follow CDC guidance by distancing workers on the line or slowing line speed. They’re just trying to make as much profit as quickly as they can with their predominantly black and brown workforce in the factory. That’s not the case for their white collar divisions which are made up of more white or Caucasian people – they are allowed to work from home for their health and safety during this pandemic. Because these companies have received over $150 million dollars just this year in taxpayer money, the USDA must investigate this injustice and act immediately to prevent any further worker illnesses and deaths.” The USDA is being urged to halt any taxpayer funding to these companies and forward the complaint to the Department of Justice for investigation.
The complainants include: the Food Chain Workers Alliance, the Rural Community Workers Alliance, the HEAL Food Alliance, Forward Latino, American Friends Service Committee – Iowa, and the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils. They are represented by Public Justice, Nichols Kaster PLLP, and Towards Justice. The companies in question are invited on JaneUnChained any time to respond.
Carter Dillard of the Animal Legal Defense Fund also joined the roundtable. America’s leading legal animal advocacy organization has joined forces with Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix for a program that allows slaughterhouse workers to anonymously report any abuse they encounter. ALDF says, “A series of billboards, in English and Spanish, are launching near slaughterhouses across the country — offering an online tip portal where industrial animal agriculture workers can report any concerns. Joaquin Phoenix partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund in offering and promoting ReportAnimalAg.com to allow individuals to remain anonymous.”