Will Covid-19 outbreaks in meatpacking plants spur the rise of the bot butcher?

For months now, Covid-19 has wrought havoc upon meatpacking plants and their workforces. Many have been forced to shutter as outbreaks spread through the densely packed environments, sickening 21,274 workers and killing 86, according to the Food and Environment Reporting Network. By contrast, in Scandinavia, fewer than 10 workers out of 8,000 at Danish Crown’s Horsens, one of the largest slaughterhouses in the world, have tested positive for the coronavirus, Wired reports. Part of the difference can no doubt be attributed to early lockdown measures and nationalized health care, but the hog processing plant is also fundamentally different from its U.S. counterparts: It’s largely run by robots. Perhaps, Wired notes, the spread of Covid-19 will hasten the adoption of automated processing equipment stateside. 

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