Dangerous to keep meat processing plants open

President Trump finally invoked the Defense Production Act, but not to increase the production of personal protective equipment for our health care providers. Nor was it invoked weeks ago to expand the production of ventilators.

Instead, he used it to order meat and poultry processing plants to stay open, declaring them “critical infrastructure” as he signed an executive order “to make sure our food supply chain is strong and plentiful.”

Meat and poultry plants are COVID-19 hotspots. Many across the United States have closed in order to minimize the contagion. Therefore, Trump’s order might be nothing short of a death sentence for workers in these plants, who stand shoulder to shoulder while killing and butchering animals.

The Iowa Gazette reports that African Americans and Latinos have disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 as a result of their work in meat and poultry plants. These are the people that Trump is demanding return to work to line the pockets of plant CEOs.

It is sad and it is cruel. But it is no surprise, is it? It endangers the lives of many of our nation’s most vulnerable, the same people Trump considers disposable and only useful for his political gain.

The only surprise would have been if he had ordered white-collar professionals to remain at work despite the risks.

Let us stand up for these plant workers. We can stop buying anything that comes from these warehouses. It would certainly be healthier since we now know the virus is there and the workers don’t just come in contact with each other. They prepare our food.

Stop buying. Tell the CEOs that people are more important than profit. We’ve all sacrificed during this difficult time. Let’s sacrifice more.

God bless you all and keep you safe.

Pat Ivey

Locust Grove

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