Psychological Harm Suffered By Slaughterhouse Employees
This article considers previously published studies and personal accounts that indicate employment in slaughterhouses is psychologically harmful to workers, and calls for more direct research on the subject. The author also discusses existing forms of redress for traumatized workers, evaluates their efficacy, and advocates the reclassification of slaughterhouse employment as ultrahazardous through tort action as a means to hold meat production companies more accountable for their slaughter practices.
“What’s the true cost of a hamburger? To the consumer, it’s anywhere from under a dollar to, say, ten bucks in a fancy burger joint. But to the slaughterhouse workers, the cost of a hamburger includes the financial and physical hardships of the slaughterhouse work itself.”
“However, even less publicly discussed or understood is the psychological trauma inflicted on slaughterhouse workers. Not only do the employees face serious physical health hazards, but they also view, on a daily basis, large-scale violence and death that most of the American population will never have to encounter. This Note will discuss the psychological harm caused by slaughterhouse work and will propose several methods, including OSHA reforms, workers’ compensation, and expansion of tort doctrine, by which the legal regime can prevent the harm from occurring and can compensate the employees for their psychological injuries.”