Psychological Effects of Their Work on Slaughterhouse Workers

Good comment from Kim, one of our excellent commenters. It’s not related to the murder case, but it shows you Delphi may not be the idyllic small Indiana town that everyone thinks it is. There is a very high percentage of RSO’s for such a small town, apparently related to the slaughterhouse in town. Slaughterhouse employees in turn develop psychological effects that would be at odds with the image of a peaceful and easy-going small town.

So beneath the cozy image, there does seem to be a very dark undercurrent running under the town of Delphi.

Kim: This is an article cited from another site about Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) and meat-packing plants. It may not be relevant to the crime, but it paints a grittier picture of the Delphi area.

Originally Posted by Blighted Star

No, you read right the first time. Those 54 RSO’s are are all linked to the very small town of Delphi, population 3,000. Check the other “known addresses” on most of them & you’ll see “Indiana Packers Co-op” (or something like it) on over 40 out of the 54 – because the abattoir up the road from the high bridge seems to have a hiring program for RSO’s. They’ve got men designated “sexually violent offenders” working on their kill floor & it doesn’t seem to occur to them that in that particular field of employment, it’s not necessarily a good thing to hire people who might be enjoying their work.

Holy crap!

This excerpt is taken from:

Killing for a Living: Psychological and Physiological Effects of Alienation of Food Production on Slaughterhouse Workers

By Anna Dorovskikh University of Colorado at Boulder

http://scholar.colorado.edu/cgi/view…xt=honr_theses

In Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress: The Psychological Consequences of Killing, the study by Rachel M. MacNair describes Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress as a from of post-traumatic stress disorder with symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse, panic, depression, paranoia, dissociation, anxiety, and depression stemming from the act of killing.

One study found that slaughterhouse workers, especially those responsible for the direct delivery of the act of killing and participating in the process of slaughter on a daily basis, may be susceptible to PITS as form of PTSD (Dillard, 2008).

One of the symptoms of PITS is having recurring dreams of violent acts, and there are several reports of workers being taken to the mental hospital for treatment of severe cases (Dillard, 2008). Certain jobs like having the responsibility to be the first to kill the animal may have stronger effects on the worker than other jobs. Oftentimes substance abuse of drugs such as methamphetamine (Schlosser, 2002) and alcohol is very common amongst slaughter employees as a coping mechanisms of the emotional toll (Dillard, 2008).

A former hog-sticker (worker who stabs hogs to bleed to death) said, “A lot of the slaughterhouse hog killers have problems with alcohol. They have to drink, they have no other way of dealing with killing live, kicking animals all day long. If you stop and think about it, you’re killing several thousand beings a day” (Dillard, p. 397, 2008).

Another employee explains that slaughter workers can’t care about animals they’re killing.

“The worst thing, even worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll of the job. If you work in that stick pit for any period of time, you develop an attitude that lets you kill things but doesn’t let you care. You may look a hog in the eye that’s walking around down in the blood pit with you, and think, God, that really isn’t a bad-looking animal. You may want to pet it. Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them by beating beat them to death with a pipe.

Use of a pipe to kill hogs came up quite a few times reading through literature and general websites. Another employee interviewed said: “It’s called `piping.’ All the drivers use pipes to kill hogs that can’t go through the chutes. Or if you get a hog that refuses to go in the chutes and is stopping production, you beat him to death. Then push him off to the side and hang him up later” (Eisnitz, p. 53, 2009).

Some employees even report killing animals for fun without feeling any remorse, suggesting that they are suffering psychological damage to the point of developing abnormal cruelty. Mental changes of this sort would generate concern amongst the general population (Dillard, 2008).

Several studies on empathy amongst farmers in animal agriculture show that slaughterhouse workers and farmers exhibit lower levels of empathy towards animals than the general population. Desensitization was not an uncommon factor amongst the employees of this sector (Dillard, 2008).

A study done on butchers working in the slaughterhouse and retail meatpacking business revealed that as butchers work in a negative environment almost every single day, they displayed the highest levels of somatization and anger hostility among the general occupation of butchery. Once factors like age and education were accounted for, this study of 82 male butchers found higher rates of work accidents, injuries, physical disorders, use of alcohol and drugs, as well as a higher employee turnover (Emhan et al. 2012).

Usually fully aware of the kills that go on every single day, the workers either become very distressed and leave the job or they become numb and begin to display signs of apathy. Some even begin to enjoy the infliction of pain (Helle 2012). Some become less empathetic under conditions of stress as well. See this example:

“This is kind of hard to talk about. You’re under all this stress, all this pressure. And it really sounds mean, but I’ve taken prods and stuck them in their (hogs’) eyes and held them there.” (Eisnitz, p. 53, 2009).

Lower empathy in slaughterhouse workers may be responsible for higher crime rates in neighborhoods where such facilities are located including homicides carried out in a manner of animal slaughtering practices (Dillard, 2008). Amy Fitzgerald, a sociologist investigating the effects of slaughterhouses on communities tested a “Sinclair effect,” a theory Upton Sinclair proposed more than 100 years ago, noting that slaughterhouses had negative effects on workers and communities through increases in crime and unemployment rates.

5 Comments

Filed under Agricutlure, Alcohol, Animals, Anxiety Disorders, Crime, Depressants, Depression, Domestic, Intoxicants, Labor, Mental Illness, Midwest, Mood Disorders, Pigs, Psychology, Psychopathology, Regional, Serial Killers, Social Problems, Sociology, Speed, Stimulants, USA

5 responses to “Psychological Effects of Their Work on Slaughterhouse Workers

  1. Jason Y

    I wish humanity could get past eating animals – and if Ted Nugent needs something to hunt he can just hunt with paint guns or target liberals. 😆
    Even though it sure tastes good, meat is barbaric. Let’s not kid ourselves.

    • Homer Simpson

      It sure be good for the environment too, as meat raising also consumes 10 times as much land & resources than plant based agriculture.

  2. SHI

    I like the latest contents of this blog, and the comments section looks clean. Good going, Robert.

    My mother recently expired. I’m still in deep shock. I wasn’t around in Calcutta where she died, couldn’t say final good-byes as I live in the opposite end of the country. It’s terrible, unfortunate and happened so fast.

    • Oh God I am so sorry! That’s terrible. I cannot imagine when my mother dies, how I will handle it.’

      Yes a garbage collector stopped by the site and pretty much collected all the Trash and took most of it away, so the site has settled down a lot.

      • SHI

        She was looking very beautiful with flawless fair, unwrinkled skin, had barely turned 60. Had been very unhealthy though, partly due to lack of self-care.

        She always used to say, “I don’t want to die old, wrinkly and in a hospital bed surrounded by strangers.” Sadly the last she saw me was six months ago.

        I feel greatly ophaned. Even though we lived far apart, she was my closest.

        But, eventually, we all get over it. I have heard that the death of a beloved person makes you a kind, considerate human being. And it gives you a lot of inner strength.

        One can choose to wallow in the loss or feel inspired to become a stronger person.

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