Alicia Silverstone has shared an impassioned video calling on her fans to 'urge [their] Senators to protect animals and workers by stopping high-speed slaughter'.
The longterm vegan partnered advocacy organization Mercy for Animals to narrate a video about the high-speed slaughter process for chickens.
The footage shows animals being transported in crates on a forklift truck, handled roughly by workers, and hung upside down before having their throats slit by mechanical blade. According to Silverstone, the process is dangerous for workers as well as the animals.
Sharing the video on Instagram, Silverstone wrote: "Slaughterhouses are allowed to operate at rapid speeds, which puts animals and workers in grave danger. I narrated this undercover investigation which gives you a look into just how bad it is.
"Join me & @mercyforanimals in urging Congress to slow slaughter lines during the COVID-19 pandemic - several senators are already in support. Please visit the link in my bio to quickly send a message to your senators."
According to Mercy for Animals: "Over 9 billion chickens are slaughtered annually in the United States. For many years, Mercy For Animals has documented the horrors that these chickens endure inside slaughterhouses.
"But in 2018, the United States Department of Agriculture made things even worse - adopting a new program that could allow an unlimited number of slaughterhouses to operate slaughter lines at speeds of up to 175 birds per minute, or about three birds per second."
The organization adds: "In April alone, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA approved at least 15 requests from plants to operate at these higher speeds. By granting these requests, the USDA has put not just animals at risk but workers, who are often forced to stand closely together to keep up with the line and may be unable to practice social distancing. Slaughterhouse workers are dying at astounding rates throughout the country."
The 'astounding rates' Mercy for Animals highlights refers to the number of coronavirus infections and deaths at slaughterhouses, which led to a top analyst branding U.S. meatpacking facilities 'COVID-19 hotpots' as infection levels within the facilities have outpaced the rest of the country.
According to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, which has been compiling data of the positive cases and deaths, as of May 28, there have been at least 18,500 reported positive cases tied to meatpacking facilities in at least 205 plants in 33 states, and at least 69 reported worker deaths at 33 plants in 21 states.