Coronavirus

Trump’s Meatpacking Order Leads Directly to Wider Outbreak

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump recently cited the Defense Production Act in an executive order that called on meatpacking plants to remain open to avert a meat shortage.

The primary effect of Trump's order was granting legal immunity to meatpacking companies so they can't be held legally responsible for exactly what has happened after Trump signed the order.

The top 15 areas of the country with the highest infections rates are all home to meatpacking plants or prisons.

From the Associated Press:

The county with the highest per-capita rate was Tennessee’s Trousdale County, where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers recently tested positive at the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Center. [...]

The No. 2 county on AP’s list is Nobles County in Minnesota, which now has about 1,100 cases, compared to two in mid-April. The county seat, Worthington, is home to a JBS pork processing plant that employs hundreds of immigrants.

Nebraska’s Dakota County, home to a Tyson Foods meat plant, had recorded three cases as of April 15, and now has more than 1,000. There have been at least three COVID-19 deaths, including a Muslim woman from Ethiopia who was among 4,300 employees at the Tyson plant.

Meat is a key staple in my low-carb diet and I eat some form of it almost ever day, but you know what? I wouldn't die without it. But the people Trump ordered back to work and those close to them are dying or could be soon.

It may jump out to you as it did to me that these processing plants primarily employ immigrants and other working class or working poor people. They're considered expendable to Trump and to people who believe it's their God-given right to eat barbecue ribs.

When considering the implications of this, I recalled the criminal case against a group of three militiamen who plotted to kill the Somali refugees who work at a Tyson meatpacking plant in Garden City, Kansas. Those men said they were going to make America "great again" by bombing the apartment complex where most of the refugees live and my gut says those same men are the type of people who support Trump's decision to send immigrants back to work; so Joe Blow America can buy hotdogs. Even if immigrants are directly serving their needs, they still want them dead.

By the way -- you may recognize JBS Pork as the Brazilian-owned company that received four bailouts totaling at least $64 million from Trump last year.

  • Draxiar

    The disregard of these people’s lives is demonic. Lack of empathy is popular definition of evil.

  • muselet

    Packing houses have never been safe places to work (SEE: Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle). They’re somewhat less hellish now than they were a hundred years ago, but injuries ranging from repetitive strain injury to severe cuts to traumatic amputation are common, and workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder throughout their shifts.

    Add a highly-communicable disease to the mix and people are going to get sick and die of that, as well. Having large numbers of people spending long periods of time in close proximity is ideal for the transmission of a wide array of nasties.

    Donald Trump doesn’t care about the people working at any industrial jobs, not just the people who break down carcasses. They’re important only to the extent that they contribute to their employers’ share prices.

    Well, that’s not entirely true: meat packers are important to him because if they work, McDonald’s still has ground beef and KFC still has chicken. The cynic in me insists that’s why Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, not some generalized concern about meat shortages across the country.

    As for prisons, pretty much nobody cares about the people there. That says as much about us as a society as it does about the prisoners.

    –alopecia

    • Nefercat

      The cynic in me insists that’s why Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, not some generalized concern about meat shortages across the country.

      Yep. He’s not concerned about meat shortages affecting the country, he’s concerned about meat shortages affecting him.