Slaughtering Our Minds

Mental Health Concerns Amongst Slaughterhouse Employees

  • Jude Kelley York University
Keywords: labour rights, labor rights, employment, precarious work, exploitation, labour exploitation, slaughterhouse, animal agriculture, livestock, human rights, legislation and policy, politics, employee rights, workers rights, mental health, health, health policy, emotional health, wellbeing, psychology, trauma


While livestock agriculture grows higher in demand, the necessity for employees working within slaughterhouses simultaneously increases. Yet, despite this need, companies responsible for overseeing employee well-being frequently disregard the psychological impacts that constant exposure to violence and death can have on employee mental health. As a generous amount of slaughterhouse employees fall under the realm of precarious work, corporations are not held to the same ethical standards for protecting their employees due to the grey zone. This paper aims to identify the correlation between working in slaughterhouses and mental health concerns. Further, it works to identify who is responsible for upholding employee rights and what steps can be taken through improving workplace support services, policies and legislation, and systemic change to advocate for the emotional and mental well-being of those working within slaughterhouses.