When my father was posted as an army officer to Bangalore , we lived on Pottery Road near a large slaughterhouse . The smell was infernal. There were fights all the time. We moved very quickly and for many years I completely blocked it from my memory.
When Swami Vivekananda went to America , as he neared Chicago , he is said to have commented that he could see a large black miasma over the city. It was then the largest stockyard and slaughterhouse in the country. It was also the main centre of crime and run by gangs.
Which are the most dangerous cities in India ? I would put Rampur on top of my list. The police and armed forces are wary of it too : recently, a fullscale attack by terrorists on a para military division took place there. Murders and other forms of violent crime are common. It also has the last number of illegal slaughterhouses killing cows and buffaloes by the thousands every day. The Mewat region of Haryana , where police refuse to go, is the largest illegal slaughter centre in North India , and the centre of the wildlife parts smuggling trade as well. In Delhi it is the walled city Jama Masjid where cow skinning takes place in every lane.
Which is the most dangerous part of your city ? Is it not the place where the slaughter of animals takes place ? You don’t have to be a vegetarian to feel scared. You know instinctively that anyone who can kill an animal is immune to the morality of killing his fellow man.
In Bareilly recently, A Superintendant of Police tried to stop a truck carrying cows to Rampur . The people on the truck whipped out guns and shot at him. This is not an unusual occurrence. Every overloaded slaughter bound truck carries guns. Many of my people have been shot at. Certainly the first attempt of the driver is to run over the vehicle that is trying to stop it.
In 2009 , an interesting study was published after 9 years of research: Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of the Spillover From “The Jungle” Into the Surrounding Community by Amy J. Fitzgerald, University of Windsor , Linda Kalof, Michigan State University, and Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University . It was published in Organization & Environment, June 2009
One hundred years ago the famous author Upton Sinclair wrote a book entitled The Jungle which detailed the working and living conditions of workers in and around the stockyard slaughterhouses in Chicago . In explaining the numerous fights instigated by slaughterhouse workers after hours , Sinclair noted a connection between these fights and the killing and dismembering of animals all day at work. According to Sinclair, “these two-o’clock-in- the-morning fights, are like a forest fire.. men who have to crack the heads of animals all day seem to get into the habit, and practice on their friends, and even on their families, betweentimes. “ The book denounced the massive slaughterhouse complex in Chicago as a “jungle,” and said that all crime and criminals in America were born out of it.
The purpose of this study was to prove/disprove the Sinclair contention. The authors write : “Contemporary studies conducted by social scientists documenting the negative effects of slaughterhouses on communities have not attended to the possibility (which Sinclair alludes to ) that the type of work undertaken in slaughterhouses is a contributing factor to increased crime rates in slaughterhouse communities.
The meatpacking industry’s effect on physical environment and human health and on the high rate of injuries to workers has been carefully documented by scholars. This study analyzes population/jobs/crime data of 1994-2002 in 581 nonmetropolitan counties to analyze the effect of slaughterhouses on the surrounding communities .
The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, rape, other sex offenses, vandalism, arson, robbery ,assault and disorderly conduct in comparison with other industries. Research demonstrates that in communities where slaughterhouses open there is an increase in crime. For instance, documented crime increases include a 130% increase in violent crimes in Finney County , Kansas and a 63% increase in Lexington , Nebraska . The Canadian town of Brooks, Alberta witnessed a 70% increase in reported crime .Particularly telling is the fact that the arrests in counties with 7,500 slaughterhouse employees are more than double than in those where there are no slaughterhouse employees. This proves the existence of a “Sinclair effect” unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor ignored previously in the sociology of violence.
Various explanations for these increases in crime have been proposed. The objective of this study is (1) to test the theories that explain the crime increases and (2) to compare the effects of slaughterhouse employment on crime rates to the effects of similar industries, to see if the effects of slaughterhouses are unique.
These were the theories that existed and this is what they found:
a. “The workers were mainly immigrants and more likely to be involved in criminal activities . “A link between immigrant populations and crime rates, however, has not been found. On the contrary, studies have found that typical immigration does not result in crime increases.
b. “The much increased violence in these communities is not because of the slaughterhouses but because the workers are lower middle class , usually uneducated hard drinking people who are mainly young males.” Studies have found that age does not have a significant effect on some types of crimes, such as burglary and homicide
c. “Crime increases are the result of population booms and social disorganization. “In simple terms that means that the population is poor with a great tendency to shift jobs and migrate both in and out of the towns resulting in social disorganization and consequent increases in crime. But these explanations do not hold water because people in identical low paid, filthy, dangerous , blue collar towns with high unemployment and heavy alcohol habits have not got the same spike in violence. The study took similar towns with comparative industries : "Iron and steel forging, truck trailer manufacturing, motor vehicle metal stamping, sign manufacturing, and industrial laundering. These industries are categorized as manufacturing, have high immigrant worker concentrations, low pay, routinized labor, repetitive, and dangerous conditions. These were not associated with a rise in crime at all. In fact crime rates were on their way down. No connection was found between high unemployment rates and violent crime.
The researchers concluded that :” the industrialization of slaughter has the strongest adverse effects”.The unique work of killing and dismembering animals in slaughterhouses has resulted in the types of crime which Upton Sinclair referred to as ‘the jungle’ in the community. Fitzgerald says at the end "We believe that this is another of a growing list of social problems that need explicit attention ."
The findings seem so obvious to me: When a person removes a non-human animal from moral consideration, he removes humans from moral consideration as well.This is seen in historical examples where colonialism or genocide used the idea of the victims as 'animals' to justify murder or oppression.
Someone who has the ability to rip thousands of animals throats is not a gentle and law abiding person. People who have made documentaries about slaughterhouses show workers kicking animals, playing football with chickens, throwing cow eyeballs at each other, urinating on bodies and masturbating on dying animals , a state of desensitization so extreme that it could only spill over into general violence.
The rise of factory-style slaughter has inured our whole civilization to mass killing of animals and humans and enabled us to wreak havoc on each other, each war surpassing the previous one in its acceptance of mass murder of humans as a feature of conflict among nations. We are not shocked by the slaughter in Iraq or Afghanistan or even angry with the country that is doing it as mindlessly as they kill animals. In killing animals we kill the better part of ourselves, and pay the price in the form of wars, crime, obesity and poor health.
Go to a large factory slaughterhouse in your town. it is a terrifying experience, enough to make you cry and vomit.
Suppose all the abbatoirs are changed into soybean processing plants. Doesn’t even thinking about it make you feel better ?
To join the animal welfare movement contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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