Joaquin Phoenix Teams Up With ALDF To Create Whistleblower Hotline For Slaughterhouse Workers

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Joaquin Phoenix has teamed up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to create a new campaign called “Report Animal Ag”. The new campaign has set up a portal for slaughterhouse workers to safely become whistleblowers.

The new platform encourages workers in slaughterhouses to come forward anonymously with tips and information on violations and abuses they’ve witnessed at work that include employee safety violations, improperly disposing of animals, and most importantly animal cruelty that runs rampant in the industry.

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Our undercover video footage from inside a Tyson Foods slaughter plant in Carthage, Texas, documented a system that exploits both workers and animals. Our investigation underscored that the cruel treatment of chickens by Tyson Foods are not isolated incidents, but a systematic, companywide problem. The extremely fast speed at which chickens are slaughtered greatly increases the possibility of equipment jamming in processing plants, and makes it impossible to handle the birds in a humane fashion and creates safety concerns for Tyson Foods employees. Today, Tyson Food continues to jeopardize the lives of workers by forcing them to work without protective measures and in small spaces during a pandemic. That's why we've joined more than 120 organizations in demanding @TysonFoods provide a safer and healthier work environment. Learn more at link in bio.

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Slaughterhouses including many from animal agriculture giants JBS, Tyson, and Chinese owned Smithfield had to shut down operations back in April at the height of the outbreak.

It was an attempt to fight the spread of the disease since employees are on the slaughter lines shoulder to shoulder while the lines run and near inhuman speeds.

A flesh shortage occurred across the United States created by the slaughterhouse shutdowns as well as creating a “surplus” of farmed animals that by the close of April saw so-called farmers across the nation murdering chickens and pigs in large number.

Thousands of untold pigs and chickens were suffocated using fire retardant foam, ventilation shutdown (as documented by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere DxE) where all vents and fans are stopped which bakes the pigs alive and having workers beat the animals to death.

On May 29th whistleblowers from DxE came forward and exposed the barbaric cruelty behind the ventilation shutdown practices used on an Iowa pig farm. They recorded the screams of the pigs as the roasted alive in the intense heat.

Video from The Intercept and DxE’s investigation. Warning Graphic Animal Cruelty.

“Despite the animal agribusiness industry’s flagrant disregard for worker safety as COVID-19 ravages slaughterhouses, a surge of whistleblowers—under the constant threat of employer retaliation—are coming forward with information about the mass killing of animals and disposal practices that have severe environmental implications,” Phoenix said. 

“Whistleblowers are instrumental in helping animal protection organizations identify, investigate, document, and expose cruelty.” he continued.

Donald Trump issued an executive order on April 28th that forced slaughterhouses to reopen calling the “meat” supply a national security matter. 

By June 9th most slaughterhouses were up and running again at 95% of their capacity despite opening back up was spreading the disease again.

As of July 15th, 37,558 meatpacking / slaughterhouse workers have tested positive for the disease and 128 workers have died at 362 facilities across 38 different states according to current data from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

While the crises grows and people die the ALDF and Phoenix are urging whistleblowers to come forward without fear of repercussions to report the safety violations and the heartbreaking animal cruelty that occurs daily.

“The animal agriculture industry doesn’t want the public to see operations when everything is ‘business as usual,’ much less conditions during a pandemic,” ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells said. 

“Workers are putting their lives at risk for corporate bottom lines. We want them to know they can report illegal or dangerous conditions anonymously and we will take appropriate action. The public has a right to know what is being done—and the dangers associated with the process of mass killing and disposal of hundreds of thousands of animals.”

The ALDF has purchased billboards near the slaughterhouses to help target affected employees with the anonymous whistleblower tip line information.

Currently the ALDF has billboards outside of slaughterhouses in: 

Greeley, CO; Toledo, Perry, and Waterloo, IA; Sioux Falls, SD; Green Bay, WI; Los Angeles, CA; and Springdale, AR.

The ALDF has also joined a group of animal rights groups in filing legal action with the United States Department of Agriculture against slaughterhouse facility practices like burying animals in mass graves and on-site burning of their bodies.

They also have a goal of creating a national database to track how funds from the federal government are used in disposing of animals in the hope that local communities around slaughterhouses can be empowered to protect themselves against the facility’s pollution.

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Brandon Kirkwood

Animal Rights Activist (ARA), Vegan, Creator and editor of Vegan News, Father to an awesome cat named Boba, Youtuber

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