This book contains pictures and stories of inhumane slaughter practices and comments on poor working conditions for slaughter workers. Please do not read if you are squeamish about this subject, but I encourage everyone to read this book for educational reasons.
The author Gail A. Eisnitz provides an excellent case for why everyone should care about better treatment for all involved concerning slaughterhouses. This includes the USDA’s unresponsiveness to the neglect and greed taking place daily that puts animals, workers, and consumers in jeopardy. This book is not a call to readers to be vegan or vegetarian, but more illustrates the major problems facing the meat industry in the United States, and in particular beef and pork. On the other hand, I always advocate Meatless Monday or Meatless for Life never hurt anybody except plants, but let’s not go there at this moment.
I gained more sympathy for these workers after reading this book as they are just trying to make a living to support themselves and their families. These workers suffer as much as the animals, although in a thoroughly different manner of exploitation. The appalling conditions could very well be prevented, but greed is what drives working conditions to be dangerous without much avenue for change and punishment for dissenters. The mental and physical effects are many when you work in a slaughterhouse and endure long after you are fired or quit or retire.
Slaughterhouse delves into the illegal practices of slaughterhouses often supported by those instructed to enforce rules. I look at USDA stickers placed on meat differently, which is one of the main reasons I haven’t eaten meat in over 20 years. Awareness and exploring what happens behind closed doors is important to righting its wrongs. If there is ever a need for undercover agents to expose the corruption within the slaughterhouse walls, it’s this current moment.
Readers will nod their heads in agreement of state and federal laws meaning nothing if the people and tools aren’t in place to enforce them. If the laws were effective, animals wouldn’t be mistreated at such a high frequency from start to finish on the slaughter line. The causes are plain, and the effects are even simpler. This further impacts the quality of the meat where intermingling of contaminated with wholesome meat is commonplace. The USDA has been sued for their inability to effectively carry out their jobs, and will continue until repercussions are severe enough to incite change within this business. I’m waiting for the day when whistle-blowers are not condemned for wanting to help the greater good.
As with any complex issues, it takes more than one book to change anything. It also takes more than one person to blog about it to promote any significant change. Yet, this shouldn’t deter anyone from learning more about it, which is the purpose of this book. It obviously is an “easy” read for those already interested about animal rights and humane farming practices, but my philosophy is to read about those things that are hard to swallow. Certain topics should be bitter as you turn the page. It makes the world go round. Maybe, one day I will read a book about football because to me this is my bitter pill.