Cheap chicken has always had a high human cost. In the face of COVID-19, the poultry industry now seems willing to pay with workers’ lives.

For decades, the poultry industry in the US treated workers as disposable in the pursuit of cheap, plentiful chicken. Poultry workers have long struggled to survive on low wages, endured high rates of injury and illness, and labored in a climate of fear.  

In 2020, that formula has become deadly. Working in a poultry plant today, in the face of COVID-19, means literally putting your life on the line.  

To find out what it's really like in the industry during this pandemic, Oxfam interviewed dozens of poultry workers, along with experts and advocates. We found the industry taking late, halting, half steps toward genuine safety.


Oxfam America

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Briefing paper

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