At least 37 outbreaks since March on the continent
In the months of the pandemic, slaughterhouses and meat processing plants were the outbreaks of Covid-19 infection both in the United States and in Europe. Just a few days ago in Germany the authorities found over 650 cases of infection among the workers of a large meat processing plant of the Tönnies company in Nordreno-Vesftalia, and quarantined over 7.000 workers of the group.
According to a report published in June by the Food and Environment Reporting Network, already in early June in Europe there were 2.670 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among employees of slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. Outbreaks have occurred in Germany, Ireland, France, Holland, Spain, Italy. In the United States, the incidence of the pandemic among workers in this industry has been far worse, and there are over 24,000 infections and 92 victims of slaughterhouse and meat processing industry employees.
“What we do know is that workers are dying, and slaughterhouse inspectors are dying,” says Neal Barnard, a physician and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine association. “What we believe is that the regions are the working conditions in the slaughterhouses (…) and the refrigerated environment that allows the virus to survive”. According to a report by the Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return (FAIRR), a network specialized in assessing the environmental and social risk of investments, «over 70 percent of the largest and most listed companies that trade meat, fish and dairy products are to be considered ‘High risk’ in favoring new pandemics of zoonotic origin ».
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