A Slaughterhouse Nightmare:
Psychological Harm Suffered by Slaughterhouse Employees and the Possibility of Redress through Legal Reform
“The worst thing,, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. . . . Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them—beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.”
—Ed Van Winkle, hog-sticker at Morrell slaughterhouse plant, Sioux City, Iowa
What’s the true cost of a hamburger? To the consumer, it’s anywhere from under a dollar to, say, ten bucks in a fancy burger joint. But to the slaughterhouse workers, as many Americans are aware,1 the cost of your hamburger includes the financial and physical hardships of the slaughterhouse work itself.
However, less publicly discussed or understood is the psychological trauma inflicted on slaughterhouses workers.2 Not only do the employees face serious physical health hazards daily, but they also experience, on a daily basis, large-scale violence and death that most of the American population will never have to encounter.3 This article will discuss the psychological harm caused by slaughterhouse work and will propose several methods, including OSHA reforms, workers’ compensation, and expansion of tort doctrine, by which the legal regime can prevent the harm from occurring and can compensate the employees for their psychological injuries.
READ MORE HERE (Download PDF file)