President Donald Trump declared meat processing plants “critical infrastructure” to keep facilities operating through the COVID-19 crisis. Indiana is home to two pork production facilities that have closed temporarily due to increased cases among workers.
The National Pork Producers Council says the disruption has already hurt farmers with nowhere to sell their hogs. The organization says producers will need help as they face rapidly-dropping prices and expect millions of hogs will have to be euthanized.
When asked about the president's order, Gov. Eric Holcomb says he believes the meat processing plants in the state need to stay open.
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I said a few weeks ago that we needed to make sure that our meat and our medicine supply chains were kept open and flowing and we need to do everything we can to make sure that business is safely conducted,” says Holcomb. “And so of course I agree with making sure that supply chain, that meat packing supply chain, is getting to market. We want to make sure that our groceries are stocked, we want to make sure that you can go and provide for your families.”
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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union represents workers nationwide, including in Indiana. In a statement, the group said while the supply chain is vital, the safety of workers must come first.
Trump also said earlier this week he planned to take action to shield meat processing companies from liability if employees get COVID-19 while working.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.