Slaughterhouse Work Is So Horrible, Canada Can’t Find Anyone to Do It

If a job is so incredibly distasteful that no one wants to do it, what do you do? In Canada, sadly, the answer might be to offer those terrible jobs to incoming Syrian refugees.

Such is the dilemma faced by Canada’s slaughterhouses. According to the Canadian Meat Council (CMC), the nation is short about 1,000 meat packing plant workers. The jobs the plants can’t fill are the worst ones, of course.

Canadian slaughterhouses need strong, healthy labor to man the kill floors and cut the carcasses. Money is tight, jobs are hard to find, and the jobs are critical to the industry. Even so, few Canadians step forward to volunteer to kill and dissect animals for food. Of those who do, many just can’t take it.

“We have people who walk away after a couple of hours,” Werner Siegrist, of Canadian Premium Meats, told Global News.

It’s no wonder, is it? You’d have to be numb to suffering or desperate for work to survive in a slaughterhouse for long.

The Psychological Toll of Slaughterhouse Work

The Canadian meat industry employs over 64,500 nationwide. Despite good benefits and steady work, there’s been an “industry threatening scarcity of Canadian butchers, meat cutters and laborers who are willing to accept job offers… in smaller, more distant and rural locations,” according to the CMC.

The reason why isn’t hard to discern. For most people, it’s horrific work that leaves them reeling.

Slaughterhouse workers often experience a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) known as Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress (PITS). PITS results from situations in which the sufferer was a “causal participant” in a traumatic event. Symptoms include depression, dissociation, paranoia, anxiety, panic, drug and alcohol abuse, and dreams of violence.

pig

As one worker confessed to a researcher:

The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. If you work in that stick pit for any period of time, you develop an attitude that lets you kill things, but doesn’t let you care. You may look a hog in the eye that’s walking around down in the blood pit with you and think, “God, that really isn’t a bad-looking animal.” You may want to pet it. 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.

Similarly, Gail Eisnitz, author of Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry, told VegNews magazine that many workers she interviewed for her book “described suffering from alcoholism, while others explained that they had taken out their frustrations through physical violence directed at their wives and children.”

Should Refugees Have to Face This New Form of Trauma?

For the last 10 years or more, Canada has authorized skilled immigrants to work in its slaughterhouses under its Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The CMC now proposes that because of the chronic shortage in this industry, Canada adjust its rules to permit incoming Syrian refugees to take these jobs under the country’s new “Express Entry” program.

hooks

While that action might help resolve the meat worker shortage, what toll would such work take on people already traumatized by war? What kind of welcome would such a bloody business be to a country that’s supposed to represent a bright and shining new chance for happiness?

The choice to accept slaughterhouse jobs would be up to the refugees, of course. Would many of them, needing the work, refuse? Probably not, which might make you wonder what such jobs would mean for their emotional well-being in their new homeland.

The era of the slaughterhouse must end, in Canada and around the world. It’s no longer necessary for most humans to eat meat to survive. If we can end the demand, we can end the need for this barbaric industry.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

412 comments

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton1 months ago

I don't know if they hire mentally ill people to do this, but the thought makes me sick in my heart.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner8 months ago

There is nothing that can redeem the degraded insane human race. Too many crimes on their heads.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner8 months ago

Of course these atrocities cause psychosis, slaughtering animals is a CRIME. "beat to death with a pipe". Only a child killer or a serial killer would do this. This continuous murder spree in human slaughterhouses is WORSE than ISIS, worse than Hitler's holocaust. The meat marketers, slaughterhouse workers and managers should get no less than the death penalty as justice.

Tiffany S.
Tiffany S.8 months ago

Gosh darn it, it's getting harder n harder to get people to abuse and murder animals . What the heck are we gonna do? So here's a no brainer: stop doing it. No one has to eat animals! If people had to kill the animal themselves most would become vegetarians immediately.

Emily J.
Emily J.9 months ago

LOL at whoever said that "Canadians must be nicer" because they can't stand working at a slaughterhouse. If they were truly nicer, the majority of the population would already be vegan - but that's obviously not the case, which makes them HYPOCRITES. I just don't understand why the meat industry has been around for so long, and people are just NOW finding it impossible to hire sufficient people who are willing to work there?? Unless the population has become more and more sensitive over time, it doesn't any make sense to me. Also doesn't make any sense why there are still fur farms in Ontario while they don't seem to have any issue with a 'worker shortage'?? There is like, 0 demand for wearing fur in this day and age compared with people who still want to eat meat... Too many details about this story don't add up. I guess it's true to an extent that you can get the public to do any type of work you want as long as you're willing to pay them enough, but it's not necessarily true for Canada. Idk why this is, but this country has a history of failing to employ people in demanding fields even when the economy is at its worst. It's one of the reasons why I don't think Canada could be anywhere near as self sufficient as the US. So sad that we need to rely on a country that so many of us consider ourselves to be 'superior' in order to protect us and feed us. /eyeroll

Emily J.
Emily J.9 months ago

LOL at whoever said that "Canadians must be nicer" because they can't stand working at a slaughterhouse. If they were truly nicer, the majority of the population would already be vegan - but that's obviously not the case, which makes them HYPOCRITES. I just don't understand why the meat industry has been around for so long, and people are just NOW finding it impossible to hire sufficient people who are willing to work there?? Unless the population has become more and more sensitive over time, it doesn't any make sense to me. Also doesn't make any sense why there are still fur farms in Ontario while they don't seem to have any issue with a 'worker shortage'?? There is like, 0 demand for wearing fur in this day and age compared with people who still want to eat meat... Too many details about this story don't add up. I guess it's true to an extent that you can get the public to do any type of work you want as long as you're willing to pay them enough, but it's not necessarily true for Canada. Idk why this is, but this country has a history of failing to employ people in demanding fields even when the economy is at its worst.
It's one of the reasons why I don't think Canada could be anywhere near as self sufficient as the US. So sad that we need to rely on a country that so many of us consider ourselves to be 'superior' in order to protect us and feed us. /eyeroll

Nelson Petrie
Nelson Petrie10 months ago

Canadians turn to vegetarianism. That is the best cure for this problem. If people don't eat meat, there'll be no need for slaughter. The Canadian government should encourage people to become vegetarians.

angel l.
Angela L.10 months ago

I can't read such cruel act. Who would want a job there? so those who want to eat meat should do their own dirty job. People who work in the slaughterhouses become more aggressive as they are so used to be around stinky blood. If all the people expose to slaughterhouses experience, at least 50% will change their diet. If people practice to be kind they have to live in a different environment where there is no killing and be around somewhere peaceful. This whole world is a slaughterhouse because the majority of people eat meat and don't believe in cultivating compassion and kindness. So sad!!!!! We all love life, so do animals!!!!!!!

Gerald L.
Gerald L.10 months ago

@12:42am. Ct 30JAN2016. Colleen P. I was thinking they could get all the prisoners sitting on Death Row to work the Kill Floor. A bit of Sociopathy and Psychopathy would help stave off ptsd for the sensitive types. Might as well save the taxpayers money. They could be paid a stipend for their cigarettes and drugs.




What the hay they might as well earn their keep.