Plant-based diets are becoming more popular for a number of factors—there are plenty of health benefits to going veggie or vegan, plus the planet would benefit from less demand for meat and animal byproducts as this industry is one of the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions.
However, the animal agriculture industry currently employs more than 700,000 workers in the US alone, and, according to a United Nations report, around 1.7 billion people worldwide depend on livestock employment. Therefore, we cannot simply get rid of the animal agriculture industry without taking into consideration the people who rely on employment in this industry to support themselves and their families.
An organization called The Brave New Life Project (BNLP) is working to address this issue by helping workers transition out of animal agriculture and into more humane, sustainable, and profitable jobs.
The dangers of working in animal agriculture
There is a lot of coverage of animal suffering in the large-scale meat production industry, but many workers risk their health every day in this sector as well. Workers are often in close quarters while exposed to ammonia and hydrogen sulfide gasses from fecal matter for extended periods of time, which can result in muscular, respiratory, and cardiovascular illnesses.
Workers are also forced to move at a rapid and unsafe pace that makes them more prone to accidents and injuries involving machinery. According to the Food Chain Workers Alliance, 65 percent of food processing and meatpacking workers have been injured on the job at least once.
Helping workers transition
As soon as a worker expresses interest, BNLP immediately sets them up with a career planning appointment with one of their representatives. Workers can access resources for resumé writing, translation services, and job interview coaching, all for free. They are also given the opportunity to connect with BNLP’s network of employers and are also introduced to legal assistance services, mental health programs, and more.
BNLP’s hope is that they can establish a sustainable agriculture program to directly transfer former animal agriculture workers into plant-based farming positions, like paid regenerative farming internships.