April 3, 2008, 3:04 pm
Most of us who eat meat regularly would still rather not kill an animal with our own hands. So we have, for generations, delegated that work to others.
Jennifer Dillard, at Georgetown Law, authored a new paper looking at what that delegation costs the workers of industrial slaughterhouses. She argues that prolonged work on a kill floor exposes workers to the risk of psychological damage, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and that they should be compensated under O.S.H.A. for any ill effects they suffer.
Giving slaughterhouse workers therapy might also reduce another cost associated with the meat-processing industry: increased crime.
Writing for the American Sociological Association, Amy Fitzgerald finds a spill-over effect from the violent work of the slaughterhouse into the surrounding community. According to her research, U.S. counties that have slaughterhouses consistently have higher rates of violent crime than demographically similar counties that don't.