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17 December 2015

USA: Oxfam report highlights poultry worker conditions

Poultry workers in the USA suffer extremely high rates of injury, earn poverty level wages, and work in a climate of fear, Oxfam America has claimed in a report disclosed in late October.

Oxfam’s report, Lives on the Line, examined plant conditions that lead to illness and injuries. “Poultry workers are among the most vulnerable and exploited workers in the US,” said Ray Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “Oxfam believes the consumer has tremendous power to put pressure on these companies to change their unfair policies and ensure that workers can assert their rights without fear of retribution.”

The report cited dozens of medical studies and government studies that documented how the fast pace of the processing line and more than 20,000 cutting, pulling, and hanging motions per worker per day contributed to musculoskeletal injuries. Poultry workers suffered carpal tunnel syndrome seven times more often than workers in all other industries; they suffered occupational illnesses at five times the rate, the report claimed.

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