Although the meat and dairy industry would have us believe that we need to eat animals to remain healthy and strong, scientific studies continuously link meat and dairy consumption to higher rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Even though the most recent Canada Food Guide reflected this science, the federal government continues to subsidize animal agriculture to the tune of billions of tax-payer dollars per year—regardless of the threat of animal agriculture to our health, the longevity of the planet or to the animals who are entrapped within these horrific systems.
The myth of meat being essential, along with fierce lobbying by powerful animal industries has also led to the protection of slaughterhouses as essential workplaces to continue to operate during the pandemic, despite the fact that pandemics can be traced back to the consumption of animals.
In addition, slaughterhouses in Canada and abroad have remained hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks because of close and unsafe working conditions. In May, 2021 in a piece entitled “The Human Machine” the CBC reported that over 500 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 at Olymel, an Alberta pork-packing plant and 950 staff tested positive at a Cargill beef-packing plant in Alberta by early March 2020. Employees reported that processing plants ignored warning signs and kept operating despite documented outbreaks.
COVID-19 has brought a new dimension to everyday dangerous working conditions in slaughterhouses that put the physical and psychological safety of workers at risk and that disproportionately impact lower income communities and people of colour. Because of a lack of transparency within these industries, because the meat and dairy industry do not want people to see what goes on in these processing plants, these workers remain invisible to the wider public despite their role as “essential” employees.
Meat is not essential. The health of people, animals and the planet are. It is irresponsible for our governments to continue to perpetually support these industries without acknowledging the direct and indirect harm they cause to our society as a whole.
We need a plan in place to transition to a healthy, more sustainable and compassionate food system. The Animal Protection Party of Canada is committed to fighting for a just transition to plant based agriculture in Canada, because our collective future depends on it.
Animal Protection Party of Canada