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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Social Studies, Civics, Health

Resource Type

  • Videos, 13 minutes, 19 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States


YouTube Video

The Chicken Industry's Worker Safety Problem

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  • This video describes the human costs of the poultry industry in the United States. 
  • Students will learn that people who work at chicken processing plants often work at dangerously high speeds, are exposed to chemicals, and sustain injuries from repetitive movements.
  • This relates to the production of food in a sustainable manner and food choices that affect humans and the environment.
Teaching Tips


  • The video presents the history of the meatpacking industry, safety laws, and labor laws in a succinct and clear manner.
  • It fosters critical thinking and a concern for humanity.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The video is primarily in English, but the anonymous workers who were interviewed speak in Spanish. There are English subtitles.
  • The video reports that the majority of the meat processing workers are from Central America and the Marshall Islands. It's essential to be sensitive to students whose families are from these regions.
  • Some students may be sensitive to the video footage of the meat being butchered.


  • Health or biology classes could pause between 3:00 and 3:50 to discuss the health impacts workers face when doing repetitive work in these factories. 
  • Civics or social studies classes could research and present other jobs that have similar effects on human health.
  • Students could prepare a slideshow presentation on the steps of chicken processing, highlighting the risks associated with each procedure. Students could also suggest laws or procedures that could protect workers in the industry.
  • English language arts classes or civics classes could write to regulatory organizations like the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) to request more regulation in the meat processing industry.
  • Teachers could show this video in class when reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. The Jungle is about a family of meatpacking workers whose actions brought about the first food regulation in the U.S.
  • Other resources on this topic include this PBS video on the environmental impacts of the beef industry, this Vox video on fighting climate change with dietary choices, and this video on the future of lab-grown meat.
Scientist Notes
The video underscores the problems in the poultry production process for workers. It also presents evidence on environmental injustice in the meat industry. This is insightful to inspire actions for the reduction of meat production across the USA. This resource is factual and recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Social Sciences
    • Civics and Government (K-12)
      • HS.11 Analyze and evaluate the methods for challenging, resisting, and changing society in the promotion of equity, justice, and equality.
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