While the bill contains measures designed to help workers, it needlessly provides billions of dollars to reimburse the meat industry for losses stemming from the pandemic.
Closures of slaughterhouses as a result of workers falling ill with coronavirus have backed up the system, leaving millions of animals deemed “worthless.”1 Now, these animals are being killed using terrible methods—including gassing, suffocating, and shooting— and are then disposed of, sometimes with the aid of wood chippers.2 Under the HEROES Act, these “losses” would be reimbursed—up to 85%—creating incentives for this cruelty.
Our government should not fund this harmful and irresponsible industry, which subjects animals and workers to unacceptable abuse and squanders scarce natural resources.3 Instead, public funding should help farmers and food producers transition to plant-based agriculture.
Purchasing and distributing fruits, vegetables, legumes, and other healthy foods, while incentivizing a shift toward plant-based agriculture would feed more people while reducing the risk of future pandemics like COVID-19.4
We can either prop up a broken food system that causes harm to workers and creates pandemics or use COVID-19 relief funding to change it.