Glass Walls: A look inside a beef abattoir

by American Meat Industry August 2012

Many people ask why the public can’t simply visit meat plants upon demand. Some worry that controlled access to plants must signal that we have something to hide. Likewise, animals rights activists have claimed that if our plants had glass walls, people would be vegetarians; we don’t think that’s the case at all.

The fact is, there are many good reasons why access has to be controlled. Food safety is critically important and visitors could unintentionally introduce contamination. That’s why those who work in plants must wear sanitary clothing and wash hands and boots when moving through plants. Given the machinery and knives that are used in our plants, operations must be extremely careful to protect visitors who could become injured and to protect their employees from the distractions that too much activity can cause.

But visitors can pose another issue that few people realize: they can cause animals to become agitated and frightened, which can lead to welfare problems.