Another damning revelation has further underscored the rampant abuse of migrant children in the meat industry. Duvan Pérez, who was only 16 years old when he died on the job at a Mississippi slaughterhouse in July, was reportedly hired illegally using the identity of a man twice his age—a discovery that points to the apparent and egregious lack of oversight of these highly perilous occupations.
New reports reveal that the teenager used the identification of a 32-year-old man when he was hired to clean up at Mar-Jac Poultry in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which supplies chicken to companies such as Chick-fil-A.
According to police documents obtained by NBC News, the Hattiesburg Police Department received at least nine reports in the past three years from American citizens claiming that their identities had been stolen and were being used by Mar-Jac workers. Some individuals reportedly directed complaints to the company, which apparently failed to take action.
It’s illegal for minors to work in slaughterhouses, which are among the world’s most dangerous workplaces. Pérez’s death was reportedly the third fatal incident at the Mississippi facility in less than three years and the latest incident in Mar-Jac Poultry’s reported history of using child labor.
In October 2021, a couple was convicted for illegally supplying undocumented workers, including several minors, to a slaughterhouse owned by Mar-Jac Poultry in Jasper, Alabama.
The Most Vulnerable—Children and Our Fellow Animals—Are Victims in the Meat Industry
The exploitation of migrant children in the meat industry is an ongoing crisis across the U.S. In February, a federal investigation blew the lid off the illegal employment of more than 100 children—some as young as 13—in hazardous occupations at 13 slaughterhouses in the U.S. NBC News has released a documentary titled “Slaughterhouse Children,” which details its yearlong investigation into child labor in the U.S.
Here’s How YOU Can Take Action
Slaughterhouses are hell on Earth for animals and workers. These facilities run slaughter lines at breakneck speeds that often lead to errors by workers. Many birds are still conscious when their throats are slit or when they’re dunked into the scalding-hot water of defeathering tanks. These standards also endanger workers, who must wield saws, knives, and other sharp tools above surfaces often coated with grease, blood, and offal.
No one wants to endure a terrifying, painful death at a slaughterhouse. You can help our fellow animals and vulnerable humans by going vegan today: