Reading Time: < 1 minute Dr. Neal Barnard and other doctors call for the closure of slaughterhouses (Photo: Physicians Committee)
Reading Time: < 1 minute

A group of doctors is calling for the closure of slaughterhouses because of the health risks posed by the meat industry.

Medics with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine made the plea during a protest outside the head office of Smithfield – a global pork giant – in Virginia.

Throughout the protest, the doctors maintained social distancing protocol.

COVID-19 hotspots

The meat industry has made headlines in recent weeks after a top analyst branded U.S. meatpacking facilities ‘COVID-19 hotpots’ as infection levels within the facilities have outpaced the rest of the country.

According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, which has been compiling data of the positive cases and deaths, as of May 16, there have been at least 14,800 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 186 plants in 31 states, and at least 55 reported worker deaths at 30 plants in 18 states.

During their protest, the doctors referenced the COVID-19 risks meat companies pose to their workers, as well as some of the other conditions linked to meat intake.

Harming health

They held signs saying ‘Support Workers, Close Meat Plants’, ‘Meat Worsens Diabetes & Blood Pressure’, and ‘Cholesterol Is Not Essential’.

Neal Barnard, MD, FACC, president and co-founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, said: “Keeping Smithfield plants open harms the health of workers, the surrounding community, and consumers – all to line the pockets of the meat industry.”

The organization adds: “With workers lined up in close proximity, viruses are easily spread within the slaughterhouse environment. Although studies show that infectious viruses easily survive during refrigeration and freezing, meat companies do not routinely test the extent to which meat products are contaminated with the virus.”

Klaus Mitchell

Klaus Mitchell launched Plant Based News in 2015 whilst studying an MSc in ‘Genetics of Human Disease’ at University College London. He has had a number of writing roles, including authoring an article published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition, which explored the effect of diet on various health markers. After founding the company in 2017 after joining forces with Robbie Lockie the year before, PBN now reaches over 70 million impressions each month across multiple platforms. More recently, he helped as script editor on Netflix documentary Seaspiracy and among his day to day management...