Iowa Public Television


Report: 3 Packing Plants Violate Human Rights

posted on January 28, 2005

Working conditions at three U.S. meat processing plants -- in North Carolina, Nebraska, and Arkansas -- violated basic human rights, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

The report, released this week after a year of research, is based on interviews with employees and managers at a Nebraska Beef factory, a Tyson Foods chicken plant in Arkansas, and the Smithfield Packing Co. pork plant in Tar Heel, NC, about 100 miles south of Raleigh. It says workers at all three plants are frequently injured, then refused medical care or fired.

The report found that repetitive motion injuries are universal in the industry; unsanitary conditions sometimes leave workers covered in animal urine and feces; and attempts to unionize are sometimes violently quashed.

A spokesman for Smithfield Foods told the New York Times that the report focused on decades-old labor disputes and did not reflect current conditions. Officials with the other two companies cited in the report also denied its claims.

Tags: agriculture beef human rights industry meat Nebraska news