Essentially Expendable

3 May


As we value our meat, sheltering in place  with a favorite cabernet sauvignon for some, screaming beyond sargeant-at-arms for others so that that barbecue rib is back on the restaurant table, the least fortunate are those deemed essential workers.  In fact, the Defense Production Act, a 1950 piece of legislation designed to regulate production of industrial materials, is now in force to ensure your meat consumption does not go away.  But those essential workers preparing your meat in plants across the United States certainly can.  The meatpacking industry has not protected workers’ safety under the DPA even though, as Esther Honig and Ted Genoways report for Mother Jones:

“All told in the US, per data collected by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, at least 99 meatpacking and processed food plants have confirmed cases of COVID-19, and at least 20 meatpacking plants and five processed food plants are currently closed. At least 6,832 workers are confirmed sick and at least 25 have died.”

from ” ‘The Workers Are Being Sacrificed’: As Cases Mounted, Meatpacker JBS Kept People on Crowded Factory Floors: With coronavirus outbreaks at two-thirds of the company’s beef processing plants, employees are asking, ‘Why didn’t they help protect us?’ “;; accessed 05/03/2020

It is time to either begin thinking vegan or step up and protect those you deem essential.

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