PETA US Buys Stock in Abattoir; PETA Rep Attends Annual Meeting for Shareholders
Rep Will Call On Company to Stop Animal Slaughter, Save Workers’ Lives by Producing Exclusively Vegan Meats
Hong Kong – Smithfield has already diversified by producing Pure Farmland brand vegan sausages, burgers, and meatballs, and now that thousands of its abattoir workers have contracted COVID-19, PETA representative Jackie Tang will attend the annual meeting of Smithfield’s parent company, WH Group, in Hong Kong at The Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday. PETA US purchased stock in the company and has offered to cover the costs of retraining employees to make vegan meats. The question Tang will be asking the board is this: “When will Smithfield switch to producing exclusively vegan meats?”
PETA’s involvement comes in the wake of nearly 20,000 COVID-19 infections and 67 deaths linked to outbreaks in meat-processing plants in the US alone. There have been other similar outbreaks around the world: Germany had 300 confirmed cases at a single meat-processing plant, Canada linked 949 cases to one facility, and infections in nine Brazilian plants have allegedly exposed 16,000 people to the virus. Other countries, such as Australia and Ireland, have also seen COVID-19 outbreaks in abattoirs. The group points out that fast line speeds and close-quartered working conditions – in which workers are exposed to blood, offal, and animal waste – make virus transmission nearly unavoidable. Factory farms, where animals are raised before entering the abattoir, are also breeding grounds for deadly diseases. Swine flu, for example, originated in factory-farmed pigs and has killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Meanwhile, the demand for vegan meats is skyrocketing.
“Smithfield could respond to consumer demand by recognizsing that tastes are rapidly turning to veggie burgers, vegan sausages, and other plant-based products that don’t threaten the health of everyone on the planet,” says Tang. “PETA is calling on the company to seize tomorrow’s market today and convert its abattoirs into vegan meat–production facilities.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – and its international affiliates have also purchased stock in companies owned in North America, including Hormel, Sanderson Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, Kraft Heinz (parent company of Oscar Mayer), and Tyson, in order to push them to produce exclusively vegan meats.