The dreadful position we place some humans in when we ask them to kill animals for us is generally overlooked. Slaughterhouse workers are paid very low wages to spend their days killing animals who are defenceless, who clearly want to continue to live, and who scream and bleed just as we would if we were being slaughtered. To have to be the perpetrator of such violence day in and day out, because it is the only job you can get, your only way of keeping food on the table of your family, is horrific. No one should have to do that.
The psychological impact on people who have to do that job is huge. It is no surprise that they must view the animals they kill as things, shut out any notion that those animals feel just as we do, quash any concern that they have, because to do otherwise would make the job impossible. That this leads to extra violence inflicted on the animals is also no surprise; that it leads to depression and violence at home is also predictable. It is a dreadful position for someone to be in and it happens because we (as a society) demand it and because most of us are well off enough that we don’t have to do it ourselves. We can buy the packets without having to consider the screaming and the blood that lie behind them, without considering the life that was taken or how it was taken or by whom.
Human rights and animal rights are often intertwined and this is one stark example of that. In seeking to encourage people to think about our relationship with animals and the impact on them of our use of them, we should not target or single out people who have very little options in life, who are already in a living hell and who don’t by themselves create the demand that leads to the killing.
[Article contains images of the bodies of dead animals].