Tyson Slaughterhouse Closes Amid Coronavirus Outbreak And Public Pressure
Tyson Foods is closing its largest pig slaughterhouse amid an outbreak of the coronavirus and community pressure.
The closure of the Waterloo, Iowa facility was announced today.
“Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe while fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the combination of worker absenteeism, Covid-19 cases and community concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production,” stated Steve Stouffer, Tyson Fresh Meats group president.
The slaughterhouse usually kills around 19,500 pigs daily, which accounts for around five percent of the pork produced in the United States.
“A Humanitarian Issue”
Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart, who called for the closure prior to the announcement, has pointed to staff protection as a human-rights issue, noting that a large portion of frontline staff and the workers at the slaughterhouse are people of color.
“It hurts when it feels like your pleas to people falls on deaf ears,” he said. “This isn’t a political issue”
“It’s a humanitarian issue.”
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Slaughter Interrupted — Meat “Processing” & The Coronavirus
Tyson is not the only major meat brand to close amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Smithfield has also closed a number of its plants after hundreds of its workers tested positive for coronavirus, some of whom say upper management failed to respond in a timely manner to the outbreak, concealed cases of COVID-19 from workers, and even refused to supply personal protective equipment.