Animal Law Review

First Page



Slaughterhouse workers are largely overlooked by both the animal law community as well as the legal protections supplied by statutes addressing the humane treatment of animals. Like the traumatic ordeals of war, slaughterhouse workers undergo physical, psychological, and emotional injuries akin to soldiers on the front line. The few statutes that cover workers’ injuries in the exercise of their position at the slaughterhouse focus mostly on the physical. While slaughterhouse workers have one of the highest injury rates of any job, the state workers’ compensation statutes fail to address the debilitating and desensitizing emotional effect of animal slaughter. Nonetheless, the law has progressed in such a way as to provide slaughterhouse workers with numerous legal remedies to address the emotional injuries that are an inherent result of the bloody career. This Note seeks to identify the various legal avenues slaughterhouse workers may utilize in remedying the emotional trauma caused by their work.

This Note first addresses the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that slaughterhouse workers undergo within the United States based on the annual number of animals slaughtered and first-hand accounts by slaughterhouse workers. This examination further illustrates the similarity between slaughterhouse workers’ day-to-day experiences and those who develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from violent events. Next, the Note discusses the potential legal remedies supplied to slaughterhouse workers for their emotional injuries. It identifies how states like Arkansas, Minnesota, and Nebraska require any claim for emotional injury to be connected to a physical injury for it to be compensable under each state’s workers’ compensation statutes. However, states like California and Colorado have allowed emotional injuries to be compensable even when unaccompanied with a physical injury. Lastly, the Note speaks to the possibility of Perpetration- Induced Stress Disorder, a stress disorder like PTSD developed in perpetrators who inflict violence on others, potentially providing slaughterhouse workers with legal remedies in the future.

Included in

Animal Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.