North Carolina has very diverse economic base. There is still a great deal of manufacturing in part of the state, as well as a strong technology sector in the area known as the Research Triangle. However, agriculture still makes up a very large portion of jobs in the state economy, and among the different types of agriculture, poultry farming is particularly prevalent, as are pig farms.
While we used to have mainly privately owned farms with a decent number of chicken coops, many of these family farms have been bought out by what we now call super farms, or they were otherwise forced to close. This is also true of the pig farms, which have been closed to make way for major national producers such as Smithfield, which has large operations centers in the state of North Carolina.
One of the major goals of these super-farming operations is to sell as much meat as possible, and this often means flooding the supermarket shelves with value priced poultry products. They way they are able to produce so much poultry and keep costs down is by maximizing production. This involves having thousands of chickens in buildings that once housed fewer birds. They are also using various veteran medicines to keep the chickens from getting infections in the tight quarters and have even gone so far as to remove windows because without a change in light conditions, they get more eggs from laying hens.
It is no shock that PETA and other animal rights groups frequently protest these methods and even go so far as to get their members to apply for jobs at these factory farms to document the treatment of the animals. Regardless of what your opinion about the treatment of the chickens might be, according to a recent article form Pantograph, it is often the workers who are being injured as a result of these dangerous conditions. This issue is what the article refers to at the “Human Cost of Cheap Chicken.”
Workers interviewed as part of the report said the North Carolina farm at which he was employed would not tend to injured workers. They would not allow workers to take much needed brakes or even go the bathroom while on the production line. Many workers had serious injuries to their hands, which were bruised and constantly swelling.
Many of their injuries also come form repetitive tasks and the stress associated with repetitive tasks. The most common repetitive stress injury (RSI) is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), and many people associate carpal tunnel syndrome with sitting at computer and typing all day. While that can certainly cause CTS, many of the cases seen by our Asheville workers’ compensation attorney involved CTS or another RSI as a result of repetitive tasks being performed on a factory floor or in an agricultural production facility.
Another setting where repetitive stress injuries are particularly common is the seafood industry, which is also big business in the coastal areas of North Carolina. For example, there are people who are required to shell crabs or peel shrimp for many hours of every day, and many of these workers end up with CTS or another RSI.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
Cepeda: Workers pay the steep price for cheap chicken, November 1, 2015, Pantagraph.com, by Esther J. peda
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