Factory farming interests, facing potential legal risks for allegedly failing to protect workers from coronavirus-related risks, are among the many business interests now backing efforts to obtain special immunity from legal liability.
In April, as meat supply chains came under enormous pressure to continue producing food during the pandemic, factory farms became some of the first hot spots for the rampant spread of the coronavirus. Nearly 100 workers at a variety of meat-processing plants across the country have died of Covid-19 and several thousand have been infected across the industry, a crisis that has spurred lawsuits alleging that the meat industry has failed to protect workers.
The legal threat could be undone by new liability waiver laws, a legislative priority for Republicans in both the House and Senate that has received political support from the industry and influential think tanks.
Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork processor, and Mountaire Farms, a major poultry producer, have come under fire in recent months for reportedly pressuring employees to crowd into plants with minimal safety precautions.