A Texas Observer article reports that slaughterhouse workers face a variety of negative emotional and psychological consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thousands of workers are employed within the roughly 1,100 federally inspected slaughterhouses in the United States. About 70 of these facilities are in Texas, primarily in the slaughterhouse strongholds of Mineola, Muenster, and Windthorst.
Slaughterhouse workers face a variety of physical strains and dangers on the job, but there is increasing evidence that mental suffering occurs as well.
These employees are hired to kill animals, such as pigs and cows, that are largely gentle creatures. Carrying out this action requires workers to disconnect from what they are doing and from the creature standing before them.
This emotional dissonance can lead to consequences such as domestic violence, social withdrawal, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and PTSD.
There is also evidence that this work leads to increased crime in towns with slaughterhouse factories.
Amy Fitzgerald, a criminology professor at the University of Windsor Canada, argues that communities with a slaughterhouse have high crime rates because the workers are “desensitized” to the violence they commit and see at work. This desensitization is then reflected in their behavior outside of the factory.
Meat and other animal components from slaughterhouses are cut into many forms and delivered to their markets. There are pelts that travel to Turkey, bile that goes to pharmaceutical companies, organ lining that makes its way to Native American communities, and liver trekking it to Saudi Arabia.
Then, of course, there is the meat that does not go far. That meat, sold domestically, is in our neighborhood delis, our favorite restaurants, and on our dinner tables.
Whatever the meat may be, wherever it may be sold, and regardless of what the label says, every piece has one thing in common: there is a slaughterhouse worker who had to take the animal’s life, and that worker is likely experiencing some level of emotional trauma.