According to a new Oxfam report, workers at poultry plants in the U.S. are routinely denied bathroom breaks, under threat of punishment or firing, to the point where some wear diapers to work and urinate or defecate while on the line. Chickens may not be the only creatures being tortured in chicken meat factories, it turns out.
At issue is the least cruel way to kill a chicken. Most chickens in the United States are shackled upside-down while fully conscious, then run through an electrically-charged tub of water to knock them out before they’re slaughtered. But PETA says this method only immobilizes the birds, and they can still feel pain. Instead, PETA endorses using gas to kill the chickens before they’re processed.
Hanson, a worker at a Tyson plant in Arkansas, had the uncomfortable experience of seeing his own mother urinate on herself at work; she now wears diapers to work to avoid it happening again. Fern, a Tyson worker in Arkansas, said she had to wait so long that she had to urinate at her work station; she believes others had the same experience, but most are too humiliated to share the experience.
Dolores, who worked at a Simmons plant in Arkansas, said she was denied permission to use the bathroom “many, many times.” Her supervisor mocked workers’ requests. She reports that he said, “I told you… that you shouldn’t drink so much water and eat so much food so that you don’t need to ask to use the bathroom.” She began wearing a sanitary napkin, but since it would fill up with urine too quickly, she resorted to diapers: “I had to wear Pampers. I and many, many others had to wear Pampers.” She said she felt like she had “no worth, no right to ask questions or to speak up.”
If they are true, it may be time to start considering stop eating chicken. If not for the inhumanity of it all, then because of the poop and pee that may be hovering nearby as your chicken is processed.