Undocumented workers and immigrants, upon whom industrial agriculture heavily relies, are paid unconscionably low wages while performing dangerous and backbreaking work. Often, these workers are the only witnesses to violations that threaten to sicken the public. With their livelihoods on the line and even the threat of deportation, most are afraid to speak out. The truth is that if terminated for whistleblowing, these workers would have little or no alternative job prospects. Moreover, these field and slaughterhouse workers enjoy little or no whistleblower protection under the law. Fortunately, there are some workers who manage to speak out safely and then advocate on the behalf of others.
Industrial agriculture has become an expansive presence in rural communities, where small local farms used to thrive. FIC believes that the voices from these communities need to be heard. For this reason, we support citizen activists. For example, FIC provided emergency counseling to a chicken farmer and safe food activist who received verbal and written threats from agribusiness behemoth Perdue: the corporation threatened to terminate her contract for questioning the safety of the poultry produced (arsenic was being used in the feed), demanding workers’ rights, and publicly speaking out against the industry at demonstrations and media events. This whistleblower is not alone – there are more farm workers who are afraid to speak out about wrongdoing they have witnessed. FIC stands ready to assist those who stand up against agribusiness.Read More
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