Meatworkers prone to violence, expert says

Jan 24, 2013
Meatworkers prone to violence, expert says
Credit: Shutterstock

Meatworkers are more inclined to commit acts of violence, new research by Flinders University animal studies expert Dr Nik Taylor has found.

The study, involving researchers from Central Queensland University, examined the link between attitudes towards animals and propensity for human-directed among two primary industry cohorts, farmers and meatworkers.

Of the 67 participants surveyed, meatworkers had a significantly higher propensity for physical aggression, anger and than farmers, with those from the cohort tending to display more to animals.

Interestingly, farmers were found to have significantly lower levels of propensity for aggression than the general community while slaughterhouse workers scored higher than the community benchmark.

Attitudes to among the meatworker group largely depended on the type of work participants were engaged in, with those working in the boning room having lower average scores than those working on the kill floor.

Other variables including income, education and had no significant effect on the two groups' propensity for violence or attitudes towards animals, however 76 per cent of farmers reported having a pet compared with only 54 per cent of meatworkers.

Dr Taylor said another noteworthy finding was that women, regardless of employment as farmers or meatworkers, scored six per cent lower than men in their attitudes towards animal welfare.

"It was assumed women would be more pro-animal but this wasn't the case," Dr Taylor said.

"Equally unexpected, female meatworkers were found to have higher propensities for aggression, particularly verbal and , than male meatworkers and all the ," she said.

"Most of the current literature on the impact of meatwork employment focuses solely on the male experience but our findings show women are just as vulnerable to the physical and of the job so this is an area in desperate need of further investigation."

Dr Taylor said the meatworker group also displayed more "utilitarian attitudes" towards animal welfare, and due to their occupations, viewed animals as commodities.

"One respondent said they agreed with the statement that breeding animals for their skins was a legitimate use of the animal 'provided there was no waste of the rest of the animal', which is a clear indication of this utilitarian view," she said.

In addition, Dr Taylor said propensity for aggression scores among meatworkers were similar to some reported by incarcerated populations, suggesting the constant exposure to violence within meat processing plants could cause psychological damage and lead to higher propensities for aggression.

"Further research with this population is urgently needed to ascertain the potential damaging psychological effects of being employed in the industry, not only for the individual and the community they live in but for the animals they come into contact with.

"As this is an area of interest to both policymakers and the public, more research is needed to unmask the multiple issues associated with animal processing."

The study has just been published in the leading international journal Society and Animals.

Explore further: Non-citizens face harsher sentencing than citizens in US criminal courts

More information: booksandjournals.brillonline.c… 63/15685306-12341284

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Athletes prone to alcohol-related violence

Dec 21, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- New research has found that rates of alcohol-related aggression and antisocial behaviours are particularly high in young Australian athletes, compared to their non-sporting peers.

Names give cows a lotta bottle

Jan 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A cow with a name produces more milk than one without, scientists at Newcastle University have found. Drs Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson have shown that by giving a cow a name and treating ...

Recommended for you

Power can corrupt even the honest

2 hours ago

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust ...

Learning at 10 degrees north

3 hours ago

Secluded beaches, calypso music and the entertaining carnival are often what come to mind when thinking of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. But Dal Earth Sciences students might first consider Trinidad's ...

How to find the knowns and unknowns in any research

4 hours ago

Have you ever felt overloaded by information? Ever wondered how to make sense of claims and counter-claims about a topic? With so much information out there on many different issues, how is a person new to ...

Minorities energize US consumer market, according to report

4 hours ago

The buying power of minority groups in the U.S. has reached new heights and continues to outpace cumulative inflation, according to the latest Multicultural Economy Report from the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the ...

User comments : 0