Tell Congress: Reject faster line speeds at slaughterhouses

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Take Action:

Dear Legislators,

I am writing to ask you to cosponsor and push for passage of the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act, which will protect animals, consumers and workers from the dangers posed by higher line speeds at slaughterhouses.

Slaughterhouses have proven to be deadly hotspots for the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, but instead of curtailing practices that put workers at greater risk, the Trump administration pressed forward with even more deregulatory efforts, allowing many slaughterhouses to operate their lines at higher speeds. This not only made the already inhumane practice of large-scale slaughter more cruel, it also increased the health and safety risks to employees and the public.

Slaughterhouses are already full of abject cruelty without increasing their line speeds. For instance, workers at chicken slaughterhouses, struggling to keep up with the rapidly moving slaughter lines, grab the chickens and slam them into shackles, injuring the animals' fragile legs. Some birds miss the throat-cutting blade and enter the scalder--a tank of extremely hot water--alive and fully conscious, resulting in a terrible death. Dialing up line speeds only further increases the risk for more animal suffering.

Human injury rates are also high as workers struggle to keep up with fast-moving lines. Conditions inside a slaughterhouse are already immensely dangerous. Increasing line speeds and forcing workers to work closer together is the opposite of what we should be doing to curtail this pandemic, which has already ravaged our country.

In addition, excessively fast line speeds compromise the safety of the food placed on American dinner tables. They prevent adequate oversight, and cruel handling during slaughter increases the risk of food contamination.

For the duration of the pandemic emergency, the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to suspend all waivers for increased line speeds it has issued to chicken and cattle slaughterhouses, stop issuing any new waivers, and suspend implementation of a recent rule that allows certain pig slaughterhouses to operate without any restrictions on line speeds.

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