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HSUS’ Paul Shapiro Discusses Alliances With Labor

By Jon Hochschartner - Species and Class, October 9, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Paul Shapiro is the vice president of farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States. He recently agreed to an interview with Species and Class in which he discussed alliances with the workers’ movement, among other things.

Species and Class : You recently coauthored a piece with the vice president of the United Farm Workers. How can the animal movement develop a better relationship with the labor movement, so we might work together on issues we agree on?

Paul Shapiro: Factory farms are terrible places to be a farm animal, and they’re also bad places to be a farm worker. There’s a reason turnover is so high at these facilities. Not only is it physically draining to work inside animal factories, but the mental toll which comes from being around such violence all day long is also quite serious. One need only peruse Human Rights Watch’s report on the working conditions for slaughter workers, for example, to know that these are very dangerous jobs.

So there should be a good amount of common ground between those seeking to help farm animals and those seeking to help farm workers. That’s one reason The Humane Society of the United States regularly works with the United Farm Workers on joint efforts. We’ve also partnered with other workers’ rights organizations to challenge a particularly inhumane poultry slaughter method that also causes traumatic injury to workers.

These are just a couple examples, but certainly there are more.

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