Supermarkets are facing a meat shortage this Christmas because nobody can face killing animals in slaughterhouses any more.
The meat industry is facing a staff shortage crisis so bad that slaughterhouses will ‘seriously struggle’ to fill Christmas orders, according to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) chief executive.
There are currently 10,000 posts unfilled, which equates to roughly 10-15% of the 75,000 jobs in the meat industry. The problem is rapidly growing, as just 12 months ago only 0-5% of positions were unfilled.
Victory for veganism
The shortage has been hailed as a victory for the growing movement of veganism, while questions have been raised over the sustainability of the meat industry.
Dominika Piasecka, spokesperson for The Vegan Society, told Totally Vegan Buzz: “An industry as inherently cruel and exploitative as the meat industry cannot last much longer in the light of the growing awareness about veganism.”
Latest research indicated that one in eight Brits now identifies as vegan or vegetarian.
“As the society becomes increasingly concerned with the ethical, environmental and health implications of eating meat, dairy and eggs, people are increasingly turning towards vegan diets,” Piasecka said.
“It’s no surprise to hear about the struggles of the meat industry, which are caused not just by the 600,000 vegans in Great Britain alone, but also by the third of the population that actively reduces their consumption of animal products.”
‘Sorry, we can only do so many animals this week’
According to reports, salaries are not high enough and people are not willing to do the work associated with a slaughterhouse.
BMPA chief executive Nick Allen told Farmers Weekly: “There were no major problems last year, but we [the BMPA] could see a scenario where they say: ‘Sorry, we can only do so many animals this week’.”
Traditional festive sales of red meat could be most affected, and slaughterhouses could struggle to adapt to changing customer demands this Christmas.
This could be good news for people’s health, as latest research indicated that adding a red meat tax could save 6,000 each year lives in the UK alone.
Mark Gurney, of Brighton Vegan Activists, told Totally Vegan Buzz: “Having less of a demand for animal produce is clearly an achievement for the vegan movement.
“Slaughterhouses are horrendous places to work in, and no one should have to resort to working in these environments.
“Typically the average worker at an abattoir experiences poor mental health and can become desensitised to the act of killing a sentient being. People are becoming more conscious of their food choices, and most people would agree the need for meat is trivial.
“If you’re vegan and want to see an end to these establishments sooner then it is crucial we are active within our communities and educate consumers of an alternative and compassionate way of living.”
The sheer speed with which the slaughterhouse staff shortage crisis has developed in the last 12 months is staggering on first impression.
But when you consider how rapidly veganism, vegetarianism and flexitarianism is growing in the UK, perhaps we should have expected this.
If the shortage continues to grow at such a rapid rate, what will happen? Can meat-eaters continue to live with the hypocrisy that they’re willing to eat dead animals, but not willing to do the dirty work?
Many meat-eaters love their dogs and cats, but happily eat a pig or cow. So perhaps this is just another confusing frustration to add to the list.
But overall the staff shortage is surely an indication that collectively, people are becoming more compassionate towards animals and finding it harder to directly be a part of their suffering.
What do you think about the slaughterhouse staff shortage? Tell us in the comments section below!
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