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-   -   Chicken processing: a brutal and dangerous job (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=880498)

Omar Little 08-16-2019 09:51 AM

Chicken processing: a brutal and dangerous job
 
Listening to NPR this morning and there was a story about the jobs that undocumented workers will do that US citizens won’t do. There was a recent ICE raid on a chicken processing plant in Mississippi and the commentator referred to the job of dismembering chickens in a processing plant as “brutal and dangerous”.

Sounds a bit hyperbolic. I’ve been in several chicken processing plants and I wouldn’t consider the jobs there any more dangerous than most industrial jobs.

Also, I know personally, many Americans that work these jobs. They aren’t jobs that Americans won’t do.

So would you consider processing chickens brutal and dangerous that Americans would not want to do?

Darren Garrison 08-16-2019 09:57 AM

Some people don't enjoy spending 8+ hours a day killing and cutting up animals while constantly smelling and seeing their blood and shit. Some weirdos, right?

Personally, it sounds like a soul-crushing living hell.

Dewey Finn 08-16-2019 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omar Little (Post 21809258)
Sounds a bit hyperbolic. I’ve been in several chicken processing plants and I wouldn’t consider the jobs there any more dangerous than most industrial jobs.

Not true.

"Injury and illness rates in the meat and poultry slaughtering and processing industry declined from 2004 through 2013, similar to rates in all U.S. manufacturing, according to Department of Labor (DOL) data (see figure), yet hazardous conditions remain. The rates declined from an estimated 9.8 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2004 to 5.7 in 2013. However, these rates continued to be higher than rates for manufacturing overall. Meat workers sustained a higher estimated rate of injuries and illnesses than poultry workers, according to DOL data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluations and academic studies have found that workers continue to face the hazardous conditions GAO cited in 2005, including tasks associated with musculoskeletal disorders, exposure to chemicals and pathogens, and traumatic injuries from machines and tools."

Bolding added by me. From here (PDF warning). GAO report of April 2016, "Additional Data Needed to Address Continued Hazards in the Meat and Poultry Industry".

So, yes, these jobs are dangerous and lead to injuries at a higher rate than other manufacturing jobs.

Crafter_Man 08-16-2019 10:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21809271)
Some people don't enjoy spending 8+ hours a day killing and cutting up animals while constantly smelling and seeing their blood and shit. Some weirdos, right?

Personally, it sounds like a soul-crushing living hell.

There are many, many jobs where the workers are essentially robots. And for animal processing, you simply get used to it after a while. So unless there's evidence the working conditions are very bad, I'm not sure why someone would consider this job a "living hell."

Doctor Jackson 08-16-2019 10:23 AM

Only one data point, but due to the large number of poultry processing plants located there, Gainesville, GA is known as the "Poultry capital of the world". That industry accounts for 6 of the top 10 employers and employs about 25% of the city population. The population of Gainesville, Ga, according to the US Census Bureau, is 40% Hispanic/Latino. Hall County, where Gainesville is located, has a Hispanic/Latino population of 29%. The State of Georgia as a whole has a Hipanic/Latino population of 10%. There is no data to show how long those who identify as Hispanic/Latino have been in the country or their immigration status, but the processing plants in the area live in constant dread of ICE raids. The work is hard, repetitive, relentless and messy (think blood and guts on the floor and the harsh chemicals needed to clean that up). The rate of reported occupational illness is 5 times greater than other US workers, the rate of repetitive strain injuries is 10 tomes that of other workers.

Make of that what you will, but it seems to support the assertion that Americans "flock" away from poultry processing jobs and the void is filled by immigrants, legal or otherwise.

octopus 08-16-2019 10:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darren Garrison (Post 21809271)
Some people don't enjoy spending 8+ hours a day killing and cutting up animals while constantly smelling and seeing their blood and shit. Some weirdos, right?

Personally, it sounds like a soul-crushing living hell.

I don’t think I could do it. It actually makes me question my omnivorous nature. I feel sorta bad that I have others do what I wouldn’t do, outside of sheer necessity, just so I can have some fried chicken.

Darren Garrison 08-16-2019 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crafter_Man (Post 21809293)
There are many, many jobs where the workers are essentially robots. And for animal processing, you simply get used to it after a while. So unless there's evidence the working conditions are very bad, I'm not sure why someone would consider this job a "living hell."

Because some odd people don't want to get used to constant blood, gore, and killing? If I had a choice between a job like that and killing myself, I'd kill myself.

kayaker 08-16-2019 11:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omar Little (Post 21809258)
Sounds a bit hyperbolic. I’ve been in several chicken processing plants and I wouldn’t consider the jobs there any more dangerous than most industrial jobs.

I disagree. I've been in chicken processing plants in eastern PA. The workers were in the US from Puerto Rico on one year contracts, with housing provided by the company. Standing on an assembly line with carcasses moving by you, making cuts with a sharp knife, blood/gore everywhere.

The only people in the plant who were born in the US were the guys walking around with clipboards.

After my visit I couldn't eat chicken for two years. :(

Omar Little 08-16-2019 11:55 AM

In the processing plants, people don't actually kill the chickens. Machines do it. The machines shock and kill the chicken, eviscerate them, and pluck all the feathers. By the time the dead plucked birds make it to the employees in the plant, there's not much blood and guts left.

kayaker 08-16-2019 12:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Omar Little (Post 21809544)
The machines shock and kill the chicken, eviscerate them, and pluck all the feathers.

The machines shock and kill the chicken, usually. The birds are hanging upside down by their feet, wide awake, flopping around. They get sprayed with saltwater then probes shock them unless the probes miss, in which case they are alert when the machine cuts their head off and sometimes thereby evade decapitation and go on to plucking/evisceration alive.

Quote:

By the time the dead plucked birds make it to the employees in the plant, there's not much blood and guts left.
Bolding mine.


ETA: The most disgusting thing I saw in the chicken processing plant was "how chicken hotdogs are made". I still eat them, but what a shitshow!


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