Poultry Workers Are Denied Bathroom Breaks and Other Benefits

According to a recent report by Oxfam America, the United States leg of the worldwide organization, poultry workers in the U.S. have been denied bathroom breaks and, as such, resorted to wearing diapers to work. While on the slaughter line, workers processing chickens had their requests to use the bathroom mocked and even ignored.

Oxfam America, part of the global organization devoted to solving social injustices, said that employees restricted fluids to dangerous degrees, enduring discomfort and pain. They are worried about their health, but also their job security.

The report alleges that slaughter workers wait for one hour or more after noticing they need to use the restroom. It goes on to state that they fear being reprimanded or fired if they take the bathroom break, as apparently it results in decreased line production. Purportedly, the circumstances are even more horrendous for female workers who are pregnant or menstruating.

Interviews with Slaughter Line Workers Reveal Injustice Over a 3-Year Period

Interviews with slaughterhouse employees indicate injustice that would be absolutely appalling, had it happened in another industry. But, this type of abuse is regular in poultry plants across the country, according to those interviewed. The interviewees who offered information for the report talk about urinating on themselves, leading to their decisions to wear adult diapers while standing at their workstations. They risk being punished if they don’t complete the required amount of actions in a specified period of time, the interviewees confess.

Those bringing these injustices to light have named Tyson Foods Inc., Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Perdue Farms Inc. and Sanderson’s Farms Inc. as the poultry plants with the improper labor practices. The Oxfam report shared the workers’ stories using pseudonyms, in order to protect their privacy and jobs. NBC News contacted all of the companies in the report, and each of them denied the allegations, with the exception of Sanderson Farms whose CFO and Treasurer refused to comment.

Is Social Justice and Animal Justice Tied Together?

The correlation between social justice and animal justice is something to be considered in this case. Dr. Hope Ferdowsian, a human rights internist, preventive medicine doctor, and public health physician, has spent the past decade working to prevent human diseases and disorders. She treats challenging health conditions, and tries to dismantle various determinants of personal and social health.

Dr. Ferdowsian’s guest essay on Psychology Today presents her quest for social justice as it applies to humans and animals, and it delves into the question of whether or not humans should be processing animals for consumption in the first place. She believes that justice for animals is the social justice movement of our time, and that future advancements in favor of animals could bring enlightenment and more peaceful lives for humans.



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