Covid-19 shows factory food production is dangerous for animals and humans alike | Troy Vettese and Alex Blanchette

With huge numbers of infections in slaughterhouses, workers and environmentalists must join forces for change

To anyone who has breathed country air thick with aerosolised manure or learned how the global expansion of pasture for feed crops drives deforestation, it might seem obvious that capitalism is unable to sustainably manage animal life. Yet the meat industry struggles to handle human life too.

Workers in factories strain to make thousands of cuts of meat every shift, leading frequently to repetitive motion injuries. Processing lines move so quickly that some workers must wear nappies because there are too few toilet breaks. There is not enough time to cover a cough – a potentially deadly indignity during a pandemic. Even before the outbreak, the meat industry pushed limits of animal and human biology.

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