As Prestage Farms pushes to build a pig-processing plant in Wright County, Iowa, PETA plans to display a billboard near the plant’s proposed location that points to some of the health hazards associated with eating meat, such as heart disease, cancer, and food poisoning.
Prestage first tried to build its plant in Mason City—but city authorities rejected the plans after local residents complained that the plant would “destroy citizens’ hair, damage the water system, lower property values,” and “hurt the school system,” among other objections.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, injury and illness rates for the meat-packing industry are 2.5 times higher than the national average. In addition, runoff from meat-industry facilities is one of the leading causes of river and lake pollution in the U.S. and can contaminate groundwater with bacteria and viruses.
In the meat industry, sows are squeezed into narrow metal stalls barely larger than their bodies and kept almost constantly pregnant or nursing. Pigs’ tails are chopped off, their teeth are cut with pliers, and males are castrated—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, they are hung upside down and bled to death, often while still conscious.