UPDATE: More Than 100 Children as Young as 13 Illegally Worked at More Than a Dozen U.S. Slaughterhouses, Federal Investigators Find

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A federal investigation has revealed that one of the nation’s largest food sanitation services providers illegally employed more than 100 children as young as 13 in hazardous occupations at 13 slaughterhouses in the U.S., including JBS Foods facilities in Greeley, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Worthington, Minnesota 

worker cleaning at a JBS slaughterhouse
U.S. Department of Labor officials interviewed this worker at a ground beef floor at a JBS USA meat processing facility in Grand Island, Nebraska as part of an investigation into alleged child labor practices by Packers Sanitation Services. (Photo filed by U.S. Department of Labor)

Investigators found that children were working grueling overnight shifts and with hazardous chemicals as well as cleaning dangerous equipment like backsaws, brisket saws, and head splitters. Some had burns on their hands because of exposure to cleaning chemicals.   

The probe found that the facility with the highest number of children working in these jobs was a JBS Foods slaughterhouse in Grand Island, where 27 minors were employed illegally. Investigators found illegal child labor at two other JBS Foods plants as well, including its slaughterhouse in Worthington, where 22 minors were employed, and in Greeley, where four minors were employed. 

Following the investigation, the sanitation company paid more than $1.5 million for its egregious child labor violations—the maximum civil monetary penalty allowed by federal law. 

If JBS Foods Can Excuse Illegal Child Labor, Imagine What Happens to Animals at JBS Slaughterhouses

In addition to the alleged child labor violations at the JBS Foods slaughterhouses, PETA has obtained documentation revealing the egregious abuse of other animals at these vile facilities.

At the slaughterhouse in Grand Island, federal officials documented that workers beat cows and deprived them of water. Additionally, the facility has a history of botched shootings of cows, including in November 2021, when staff repeatedly shot two cows in the head before rendering them unconscious.

In June 2020, a bleeding steer who had been shot in the head tried desperately to escape slaughter. Thirteen minutes passed before workers repositioned the terrified animal for a second shot. In March 2018, workers apparently failed even to attempt to stun a cow before shackling her and hoisting her onto a bleed rail while she was still conscious.

In 2017, a concerned whistleblower provided PETA with photographs and video footage documenting that cows had been shot in the wrong area of their heads, which may not have properly stunned them, and that a conscious cow—whose throat had been slit—had been hanging on the bleed rail.

jbs slaughterhouse, improper stunning, concious cows hanging, throats slit, cow slaughter
In 2017, PETA obtained disturbing photographs and video footage captured by a whistleblower inside JBS Beef’s slaughterhouse in Grand Island, Nebraska, revealing improper slaughter procedures.

Whistleblowers have also alleged that JBS forced cows to languish in idling trucks outside the Grand Island facility for up to 10 hours before being unloaded, causing extra suffering.

At the JBS slaughterhouse in Worthington, workers were seen lifting paddles above their heads and repeatedly striking pigs, according to a federal report.

Here’s What YOU Can Do

This recent investigation is yet another reminder that companies that raise our fellow animals for slaughter have no regard for the lives of sentient beings—including human children, apparently. The best way to take action against the suffering of humans and other animals at slaughterhouses is to go vegan. Click the button below to get started today:

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