Protesters demand shutdown of virus-hit meat plant

A caravan of cars honked their horns to demand a California meatpacking plant shut down on Thursday (May 28).

The Farmer John plant's been the center of a coronavirus outbreak that's left over 150 people infected.

It's owned by the world's largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods.

Protesters were joined by animal rights group PETA, who brought along a 'pandemic pig' character in a convertible.

Greg McGonagle were among those demanding the plant shut its doors.

"We're here in solidarity with the workers as well as the animals. This is an unnecessary industry. Animal agriculture caused this outbreak in the first place so if it's not necessary to do unethical harm to both animals and humans, we shouldn't be doing it. (Dog barks) Tina agrees!"

Meatpacking plants across the U.S. have proved devastatingly effective vectors for the virus.

The Farmer John plant has set up plexiglass and tempature tests, but the United Food and Commerical Workers union says that's not working.

John Grant heads up the union's local chapter.

He says he's had to personally call the families of four members who died.

"There are other members that are in incubation, there are others that have lost the ability to walk. The problem is they live in neighborhoods, they live with family, they support family and the danger is bringing these infections home and infecting their loved ones. In fact, when we talk to the members, their concern is almost greater for their family than it is for themselves."

The union says 30 meatpacking plants closed temporarily in Nebraska, Iowa and other Midwestern states last month.

It's put immense pressure on the nation's food supply chain.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the country's pork and beef slaughter capacity has been slashed by over 30 percent.

At the end of April, President Donald Trump ordered meat plants to stay open to prop up the food supply.

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