Would you kill for a job?
Who would work in an abattoir?
Most of us have done jobs we didn’t want to do because we needed the cash. There are plenty of dirty, smelly, difficult, revolting jobs out there that usually get left to immigrants, to the uneducated, to the desperate.
Slaughtering animals is something most people would turn their noses up at, but someone has to do it.
And it seems as though, in some cases, those who do it can be cruel and violent.
The latest slaughterhouse cruelty incident uncovered by the ABC shows NSW abattoir workers bashing pigs with a metal bar, and pushing still-thrashing sheep onto a blood-soaked floor, and hanging still-twitching animals.
It follows, of course, the dramatic and grotesque expose of the live export trade in cattle to Indonesia last year.
The NSW Food Authority says Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors is a “rogue operation”. Most slaughterhouses are presumably run in an efficient, clean, and as-humane-as-possible way.
But not all of them. And there may be a broader problem with who ends up working in abattoirs, and whether anyone can stop themselves becoming so desensitised that animal cruelty becomes normal.
This cruelty may be a broader problem. A 2009 study found the more slaughterhouses in the community, the more crime.
Author Amy Fitzgerald looked at what happened when factories opened up and found “slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries.”
“One of (the explanations) is the violence they witness and sometimes have to participate in might result in some kind of desensitization,” she said.
Dr Susan Hazel is a lecturer and expert in animal welfare and human-animal interactions at the University of Adelaide. She says without constant monitoring and auditing, standards slip and the culture wins out.
“(Workers) begin to think that it’s normal in a situation like that because they’re surrounded by the animals dying they become immune to seeing examples of cruelty,” she said.
“The people that tend to take those jobs are less educated.
“It may be the type of job that attracts people who are more likely to be cruel… they might get away with it in that environment.
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