Human Rights: Slaughterhouse Worker Suffering and Linking Oppressions

December 4, 2014
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Listen to the show here:

The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 10th as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. The United Nations General Assembly created the mandate of High Commissioner for the promotion and protection of all human rights in December 1993.  

But have we really achieved this goal? When unarmed black people are being murdered by white cops, and the officers are let free of any blame or responsibility, while the families and friends grieve this horrific loss. When trans and queer people are still routinely shamed, beaten and even killed just for who they are, and when their deaths are celebrated by religious fundamentalists. When systemic sexism, colonialism and racism still impacts so much of our daily lives…

Today’s show is in respect of Human Rights Day, and to remind us that despite the strides that we have made, we still have so much further to go to achieve true equality and justice amongst humans. We also discuss how human oppressions and discrimination relate to the struggles for nonhuman animals and the fight for liberation, and how these issues  have motivated us to fight for nonhumans (or impacted us). Our discussion will also encompass how some human related discriminations / injustices make their way into the animal advocacy community, and how we can make changes / call out these issues.

lauren Ornelas, On Slaughterhouse / Animal Agriculture Workers

“Most workers are in a continuous state of pain due to the long hours and repetitive nature of their work. They feel disrespected and underappreciated as their supervisors are quick to remind them they can be easily replaced. In the case of undocumented workers, the constant threat of deportation creates added stress and anxiety.”. – Source Food Empowerment Project

Slaughterhlauren_ornelasouses (and animal agriculture) are quite literally a place of absolute suffering, death and despair. As animal activists we make ourselves well aware of the suffering that is inflicted on the animals within this system, but we often fail to recognize that it is a multilayered system of oppression, hurting all those at the bottom. This includes, of course, the workers who are employed to work in the industry. They too are oppressed and victimized by this system, and the suffering they face is just as real and important as for the animals we advocate for.

lauren Ornelas is Food Empowerment Project‘s founder and executive director. She’s been active in animal advocacy for 20 years, and started Food Empowerment Project in 2006 to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices. Food Empowerment Project covers a wide range of issues relating to our food choices and how they directly affect others (both human and nonhuman), as well as some resources on how to get involved in creating change.

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