PEOPLE for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has raised the ire of meatworkers for linking them to violent crimes.The Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union rejected "any wild and unsupported allegations about (abattoir) work leading to increased violent behaviour.''
Union official Graham Smith said the allegations were "completely unfounded and such suggestions are offensive to the workers''.
In a letter to Weekly Times Now and other media outlets, PETA said a Flinders University study indicated people who worked in abattoirs tended to be violent towards humans.
The study, of 67 participants, examined the link between attitudes towards animals and propensity for human-directed aggression.
The study stated farmers were found to have significantly lower levels of propensity for aggression than the general community while slaughterhouse workers scored higher than the community benchmark.
PETA said some meatworkers had aggression levels on par with prisoners.
Citing a Canadian study PETA said "more violent crimes, including rape and sexual assault, often occur in towns after an abattoir moves in.''
Special projects co-ordinator Desmond Bellamy wrote "researchers believe that killing animals, sentient beings who are made of flesh, bone, and blood, just as you and I are, desensitises labourers to violence.''
However, Mr Smith said meatworkers were just ordinary people doing a job that was "not high up in the list of preferred career choices.''
"Many people I have worked with and dealt with over the years in the meat industry are animal lovers and abhor any violence to animals,'' Mr Smith said.
"Animals at Australian abattoirs are treated humanely and stunned before slaughter.
"Instances of cruelty are rare and not tolerated either by the other workers or management.''
Mr Smith said during the time a person was at work on the slaughter floor or boning room they tended to become desensitised to the job they are doing.
"But it is absurd to say that this leads to a view that all animals are consumable commodities and should be killed wherever possible, or that they should be treated violently or inhumanely before slaughter,'' Mr Smith said.
"I can assure you that the meatworkers I have dealt with over the years do not go home and start eying off the family or neighbours pets for dinner.''
Mr Smith said most meatworkers would be appalled at suggestions that their job has turned them into cold killers or dangerously violent people.