The Forward reports:
In 2004, an undercover investigator for the animal rights group PETA worked in the chicken department at Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse. A few days into the job, the investigator contracted campylobacter, a bacterial infection common to chickens. The illness, which caused bloody stools, led him first to the company’s doctor and then to the emergency room. Soon thereafter, he went to Agriprocessors’ human resources director to seek reimbursement for his medical bills. He recorded the meeting on a hidden camera and the following is a transcript of their exchange:
PETA Investigator: So what happened . . .
Human Resources Director: You went to the emergency room.
PETA Investigator: I went to the emergency room. I had really bad issues, I was bleeding. They did a stool culture and they determined that it was a bacterial infection as opposed to a viral. They said it was campylobacter and I got my records from them when I went to [the Agriprocessors’ doctor] originally, I said you know this is probably from work because I just started working in the poultry department like five days ago and I mean it’s kind of a coincidence, you know, that I’m getting a bacterial infection that’s common with chickens and he said, “Well if it is work related then you can come back and we’ll fill out a report to be reimbursed.”
Human Resources Director: You know, I don’t mean to be mean, cruel, heartless and inhuman. My husband doesn’t work here, my two sons don’t work here, and all three have bloody stools and everything within the last month or so. [Laughs]
PETA Investigator: From what?
Human Resources Director: You know, it’s just a bacteria thing that’s going through. And that’s the God’s honest truth. Um, had you thought, I mean it is sort of frightening, I have people catch colds and say they caught cold because of work. There is a really big grey area here. So you went to [the Agriprocessors’ doctor] …
PETA Investigator: I gave the, I showed the nurse you know that it was campylobacter which is very, very common in chickens. I mean it doesn’t take an educated person to realize that after working with…
Human Resources Director: I wonder why, I mean I have how many people working over there and they don’t get it.
PETA Investigator: Well I’m sure, well actually the nurse said that someone has gotten it before, they came in with the same symptoms, he had to go to the hospital emergency room eventually, the same exact thing as me. It was a migrant worker, a Mexican guy I guess,
Human Resources Director: So basically you’re asking if I’m going to cover that under work comp?
PETA Investigator: Yeah, well whatever it is, I have health insurance, I just assumed that would…
Human Resources Director: I have a hard time saying that I could, though.
[The PETA investigator says the company never reimbursed his medical bills.]