What’s happening in the news this week? Reports of bees thriving in response to the decrease in pollution, Snoop Dogg voices his support for a plant based diet and (in some not so good news), Covid-clusters emerging from slaughterhouses in Australia and the US are shining a light on the filthy and unsafe working conditions.
Scandal in slaughterhouses – employees forced to work in hazardous conditions
When discussing slaughterhouses, what is seldom mentioned is the human impact of such an operation. Workers, who often do not have many other work options, are essentially forced to carry out immoral acts in filthy and unsafe conditions.
Such working standards can have an immense effect on the wellbeing of workers, who have increasingly reported developing mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD as a byproduct of the nature of their work. Psychologist Rachael M. Macnair’s 2002 work ‘Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing’ recounts her research regarding a new condition experienced by slaughterhouse workers, associated with unbearable feelings of guilt resulting from being responsible for a killing. Killing hundreds of animals daily takes an undeniable emotional toll on a person – which has lead to chronic work shortages in the industry.
The latest example of the poor human conditions in slaughterhouses are the reports of related Coronavirus clusters in Australia and the USA. Bloomberg media broke a story earlier this week that recounted the story of a slaughterhouse worker who was told not to wear a mask, and later died from Covid – 19.
Raphael Benjamin had worked for Cargill Inc. in a pork and beef processing plant for 17 years at the time of his death – continuing to work as his coworkers fell sick. On the week of April 4, the union reported that 164 workers at the plant had tested positive for coronavirus. Working for only 15 dollars an hour, Benjamin’s death should be a source of immense shame for the global meat industry. An industry which once again has proven that profits take precedence over life and dignity.
Snoop Dogg endorses plant based diet
In more positive news, Snoop Dogg has joined the long (and growing) list of celebrities speaking out about the benefits of eating a plant based diet.
Snoop Dogg has had a history of being a pioneer in the vegan alternatives market – boasting an ongoing relationship with vegan snack company Outstanding Foods, and being an early investor in the famous Beyond Meat burger. In a recent interview in Magazine ‘Muscle and Fitness’, he reflected upon his partnership with outstanding foods and his commitment to living a healthy lifestyle – citing that he wants to be around for a long time with his family.
I love to see artists, entertainers, and influencers putting a bigger emphasis on this to encourage everyone to live their best life, You know we all wanna live forever.”
Snoop’s shifted focus towards plant based alternatives for his health is entirely correct. On average, those following a vegan diet have on average the longest life spans. Additionally, the American Heart Association endorses a vegan diet as heart healthy.Although Snoop is not vegan himself, it is commendable that he uses his money and his platform to promote plant based diets and alternatives.
In many ways, Snoops focus on health taps into the story and motivations of many vegans – wanting to be stick around for our families. His addition of more plant based foods into his diet is also relatable for the many people who do not go entirely vegan, but are interested in reaping the health benefits associated with a reduction in meat consumption.
Bees thrive as pollution drops
Finally, in other vegan news, the world stays indoors for another month, we are seeing an increase in bees getting out and about and pollinating as spring hits in the Northern Hemisphere. The BBC has reported that this is likely due to a reduction in car fumes, which can mask floral scents and confuse bee populations.
This news is especially encouraging within the context of the last few years, where reports have been lamenting the dramatic decrease in essential bee populations.
Bees play an essential role in our ecosystem and in the future viability of our agricultural systems – pollinating one third of food crops worldwide. However, pollution and crop monocultures have contributed to bee number declines over the years.
According to experts, the best thing you can do to help your local bee populations is to limit your car usage, and allow for more native biodiversity in your yards.
Lucy Bailey is 17 years old and has been vegan for 9 months. Lucy is an award winning public speaker and passionate writer on animal issues. For her vegan activism, Lucy has been awarded the Sydney University Leadership Award and a Sydney Scholars Award in 2019.
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