Washington, DC – Today, a wide range of 20 organizations representing millions of residents across the country sent a letter to congressional leadership to direct USDA to immediately implement a moratorium on the higher-speed slaughter and processing of poultry, swine, and cattle.
This comes after President Trump’s April 28 Executive Order that purportedly requires slaughter and processing plants to remain open during the pandemic. The group requests that the fourth coronavirus relief package directs FSIS to retract approvals for all plants currently operating at higher line speeds, cease issuing new approvals, and take additional steps to ensure social distancing.
In response, Tony Corbo, Sr. Government Affairs Representative for Food & Water Action, issued the following statement:
“The push to increase slaughter line speeds combined with Trump’s damaging Executive Order is lethal for worker safety and meat safety in this country. Faster line speeds lead to unacceptable levels of meat contamination and create even more hazardous conditions for food workers. The Trump administration made clear with their Executive Order that they understand that workers on the front lines of our food system are essential. Essential workers must be thoroughly protected, not forced to work more quickly under more dangerous conditions.
“Clearly FSIS cannot be trusted to facilitate adequate protective measures for meat processing workers and employees – in fact, they’ve approved line speed requests at a higher rate than ever and failed widely to protect inspectors from COVID-19 risks. Congress must step in and take immediate action to slow down line speeds to protect workers, animals, and food safety.”
The letter signees include:
- A Better Balance
- American Federation of Government Employees
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Animal Equality
- Animal Outlook
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- Consumer Federation of America
- Farm Sanctuary
- Food and Water Action
- Food Chain Workers Alliance
- Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor Food Alliance (HEAL)
- Humane Society Legislative Fund
- Humane Society of the United States
- Lady Freethinker
- Mercy for Animals
- National Council for Occupational Safety & Health
- National Employment Law Project
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
- United Food and Commercial Workers
Read the full letter here.