REFLECTING ON THE 2015 CILIP CONFERENCE
Written by Martin Mullin, Head of UK Acquisitions. CILIP is the Chartered […]
Gail A. Eisnitz
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"I'd been documenting and exposing animal abuse for nearly 15 years. But nothing -- not the grisly cockfights nor the pathetic puppy mills, not the ritual animal sacrifices nor horrific livestock auctions -- could have prepared me for what I'd encounter once I ventured behind the closed doors of America's slaughterhouses".
So writes award-winning author Gail A. Eisnitz in Slaughterhouse, a highly critical and all-too-real tour through some of America's major livestock processors. With powerful descriptions, reminiscent of Upton Sinclair's masterpiece The Jungle, hers is a frightening look at where our beef, pork, and poultry are "mass-produced" on disassembly lines that run 24-hours a day. And where U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors -- who are supposed to be assuring the public a safe food supply and protecting the animals from inhumane treatment -- ignore federal regulations, take payola, and turn a blind eye to the horrors that occur each day.
Often safety standards are simply ignored. As the speed of the "kill lines" that prepare thousands of animals for slaughter is increased to boost productivity, more and more semiconscious and frightened animals pass through -- their flailing limbs lashing out and injuring workers before being brutally hacked off. But the kill line keeps going because the pressure to mass produce is intensifying to the point that human life is placed on par with that of the animals.
Eisnitz includes interviews with numerous slaughterhouse workers who speak candidly of their experiences on the front line of one of the nation's largestagribusinesses. While documenting many instances of worker cruelty toward live animals, Eisnitz sees these employees as victims of the system. The meat industry, she contends, is a giant, monolith that only rewards speed and productivity, while penalizing those who take time to do the right thing.
Slaughterhouse will outrage, horrify, and disgust everyone concerned about animal welfare, human rights, consumer safety, and government regulatory practices. Ninety-one years ago, Upton Sinclair brought attention to slaughterhouse atrocities, and now Eisnitz is here to report that they've only gotten worse.
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