The topic of slaughterhouses is not typically a conversation people want to have, but nine billion animals are slaughtered every year, therefore we need to start talking about it. One of the largest environmental concerns associated with slaughterhouses is wastewater and water contamination. The United States alone has 32 slaughterhouses responsible for dumping 55 million pounds of pollutants into the waterways every year (Farr). Not only do slaughterhouse effect the environment, but they also put human health at risk. In addition, far too often animals are often abused and tortured.
One of the largest environmental concerns associated with slaughterhouses is wastewater and water contamination (Farr). Currently, the wastewater from slaughterhouses contain material such as fat, grease and manure. Imagine drinking or showering in water containing those disgusting materials. According to the Environmental Working Group there are eight slaughterhouses that are ranked among the top 20 polluters of surface water in the U.S. Farr states that Collectively, those eight slaughterhouses dumped 30 million pounds of contaminants including nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia into waterways in just one year! There are many reasons why all this wastewater is a huge problem. One major problem is nitrate pollution. Nitrates are a huge source of water contamination. Nitrate levels in water can cause health conditions in infants and kill aquatic life. In addition to water contamination, the environment is also effected by greenhouse gas emissions. According to Farr, the main sources of these emissions is from the electricity used to run the slaughterhouses and to get rid of the previously mentioned wastewater as well as packing, cooling and transporting the dead animals. She further states that, The amounts vary depending on the animal and other factors, but it’s estimated that electricity outputs account for five percent of beef related emissions, 13 percent of pork related emissions and 24 percent of chicken related emissions.
Slaughterhouses are also responsible for a large output of methane and carbon dioxide (Farr). These gases are produced in the process of slaughter and by the degradation of wasterwater. As mentioned previously, wastewater contains numerous amounts of organic material, which releases methane and and carbon dioxide when they decompose. Given the fact that 55 milion pounds of wastewater are dumped into waterways each year the amount of these gases is likely exorbinant. (Farr).
In the United States, slaughterhouse waste is disposed of in several different ways. One of those ways is to spray the wastewater as irrigation over fields. This is a very bad idea for many reasons. One reason is because this method contaminates surface and groundwater. It also causes terrible smells, contributes to greenhouse gases and negatively impacts the soil. Another way they dispose of waste is lagoons. Lagoons are commonly used as storage for manure and other factory farm waster, but they are also used for slaughterhouse waste as well. The problem with this approach is it produces a lot of methane and terrible smells.
The environment is not the only thing impacted by slaughterhouses. Human health is also affected as well, not only physically, but emotionally as well. Studies have shown that working in a slaughterhouse can have an immense emotional and psychological impact, with serious consequences for these workers. The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll … Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them…” Ed Van Winkle, slaughterhouse worker.. According to Dilliard, Workers in slaughterhouses internationally have been found to endure serious health and safety risks, especially those related to heavy lifting, repetitive motions and proximity to dangerous equipment. In addition, experts found evidence suggesting that participating in the routine slaughter of animals can increase a worker’s propensity for committing a range of violent offences against people. www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/slaughterhouse-cruelty-human-factor.php
According to the United States Department of Labor. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/meatpacking/hazards_solutions.html
Meat processing workers are exposed to biological agents during slaughter, when handling meat that is freshly slaughtered, and with exposure to ill animals. Heath effects may include skin infections, flu, gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea) and sometimes more serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis (blood infection). As mentioned previously, nitrate levels in the water can cause blue baby syndrome, which is a fatal condition that can occur in infants under six moths. In addition, contaminated water has been proven to increase the risk of other serious health risks, including cancer, gastrointestinal illnesses, birth defects, epilepsy, and miscarriages (Kasserman).
Another issue regarding slaughterhouses is how the animals are treated. Accoring to Animals From Farm to Slaughterhouse https://aidanimals.com/animal-cruelty/slaughter-house/#section-0
Beating, boiling and dismembering animals alive is common-place in today’s slaughter houses. Often animals, such as cattle, sheep and pigs, are stunned prior to being slaughter . This process involves a gun firing a metal bolt into the brain of the animal causing the animal to lose consciousness immediately; however, many times this is done incorrectly and animals that are not stunned correctly are butchered when they are fully conscious.
These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water, and just start screaming and kicking. I’m not sure whether the hogs burn to death before drowning. The water is 140 degrees. Not only are animals burned alive, but often animals are completely skinned while still alive. Aniamls are hung upsude down, stabbed in the throay, and heads are wwisted until they are completely off. Claves are separated from their mother as little as two hours after bith, choickens legs are forced into shackles as they are hunf upside down and pigs epeatedly struck pigs on the head with hard metal pipe before their throats are cut. Although the U.S. technically has humane slaughter laws, they unfortunatelty provide very little protection to pigs, cows, sheep and goats, and do not provide any protection for chickens, turkeys, or other birds. (Humane Slaughter).
Throughout this paper, various problems have been assressed with slaughterhouses. Not only do they effect the environmeny, but they impact human health and more often than not mistreat the animalsOne solution to reduce and elimate slaughterhouse waste is to stop eating meat, however, this very difficult for some people to do and is not always an easy option. A quick, cost effective and safe disposal method is thus essential in order to reduce the risk of disease following animal slaughter. Ingrid H Franke-White states that that different methods for the disposal of such wastes exist, including composting, anaerobic digestion (AD), alkaline hydrolysis (AH), rendering, incineration and burning. She also adds that composting is a disposal method that allows a recycling of the slaughterhouse waste nutrients back into the earth. In addition. improvements need to be made to facilities and practices to improve worker safety and reduce the risk of food contamination.
To protect the rights of animals and end their abuse and torture, cameras should be installed in every slaughtergouse. Messenger calls the installation of cameras “a critical step that will increase control and deterrence”, Slaughterhouse impact he environment, human health and animal warfare. Althought people don’t want to talk about slaughterhouses, it is important that they are aware of how it may be effecting them,
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