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Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of the Spillover From "The Jungle" Into the Surrounding Community

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More than 100 years after Upton Sinclair denounced the massive slaughterhouse complex in Chicago as a "jungle," qualitative case study research has documented numerous negative effects of slaughterhouses on workers and communities. Of the social problems observed in these communities, the increases in crime have been particularly dramatic. These increases have been theorized as being linked to the demographic characteristics of the workers, social disorganization in the communities, and increased unemployment rates. But these explanations have not been empirically tested, and no research has addressed the possibility of a link between the increased crime rates and the violent work that takes place in the meatpacking industry. This study uses panel analysis of 1994-2002 data on nonmetropolitan counties in states with "right-to-work" laws (a total of 581 counties) to analyze the effect of slaughterhouses on the surrounding communities using both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regression. The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a "Sinclair effect" unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.
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Organization & Environment
DOI: 10.1177/1086026609338164
2009; 22; 158 originally published online Jun 2, 2009; Organization Environment
Amy J. Fitzgerald, Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz
Spillover From "The Jungle" Into the Surrounding Community
Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of the
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158
Slaughterhouses and Increased
Crime Rates
An Empirical Analysis of the Spillover From
“The Jungle” Into the Surrounding Community
Amy J. Fitzgerald
University of Windsor
Linda Kalof
Thomas Dietz
Michigan State University
More than 100 years after Upton Sinclair denounced the massive slaughterhouse complex in
Chicago as a “jungle,” qualitative case study research has documented numerous negative
effects of slaughterhouses on workers and communities. Of the social problems observed in
these communities, the increases in crime have been particularly dramatic. These increases
have been theorized as being linked to the demographic characteristics of the workers, social
disorganization in the communities, and increased unemployment rates. But these explanations
have not been empirically tested, and no research has addressed the possibility of a link between
the increased crime rates and the violent work that takes place in the meatpacking industry. This
study uses panel analysis of 1994-2002 data on nonmetropolitan counties in states with “right-
to-work” laws (a total of 581 counties) to analyze the effect of slaughterhouses on the surround-
ing communities using both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regression. The
findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent
crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries.
This suggests the existence of a “Sinclair effect” unique to the violent workplace of the slaugh-
terhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.
Keywords: meatpacking industry; slaughterhouses; crime; employment; rural communities
A
t the turn of the 20th century, Upton Sinclair exposed the devastating work conditions
and living environments of those who toiled in Chicago’s stockyard slaughterhouses.
In The Jungle he made a connection between the numerous after-work fights instigated by
slaughterhouse workers and the killing and dismembering of animals all day at work:
He [the police officer] has to be prompt—for these two-o’clock-in-the-morning fights, if they
once get out of hand, are like a forest fire, and may mean the whole reserves at the station. The
thing to do is to crack every fighting head that you can see, before there are so many fighting
heads that you cannot crack any of them. There is but scant account kept of cracked heads in
back of the [stock] yards, for men who have to crack the heads of animals all day seem to get
into the habit, and to practice on their friends, and even on their families, between times
(Sinclair, 1905/1946, pp. 18-19 emphasis added).
Organization & Environment
Volume 22 Number 2
June 2009 158-184
© 2009 SAGE Publications
10.1177/1086026609338164
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 159
Although the “Sinclair hypothesis”—the propensity for violent crime is increased by
work that involves the routine slaughter of other animals—has not been given much atten-
tion, geographers, sociologists, and anthropologists have begun to examine the community
effects of the migration of slaughterhouses from urban areas to rural communities. As we
will detail below, the framing of that work is solidly grounded in community sociology,
where work on “boomtowns” resulting from a new industry coming to town has been a
topic of research for at least three decades (see Berry, Krannich, & Greider, 1990; Camasso
& Wilkinson, 1990; Freudenberg, 1981, 1984, 1986; Freudenberg & Jones, 1991; Hunter,
Krannich, & Smith, 2002; Krannich, Berry, & Greider, 1989; Smith, Krannich, & Hunter, 2001;
Wilkinson, Reynolds, Thompson, & Ostresh, 1984; Wilkinson, Thompson, Reynolds, &
Ostresh, 1982). The application of the “boomtown” hypothesis and related theories to
meatpacking communities undertheorizes the slaughterhouse in that it treats the work of
killing animals as more or less the same as other assembly line work. We will demonstrate
that a “sociology of the slaughterhouse,” (York, 2004) which attends to the unique charac-
teristics of this form of work, is needed.
A number of recent sociological studies have suggested that many social problems and
phenomena cannot be adequately understood unless we examine the social role of nonhu-
man animals. For example, Arluke and Sanders (1996) and Irvine (2004) suggest that
companion animals can play the role of the Median “other” in interactions. Fitzgerald
(2005, 2007) and Flynn (2000a, 2000b) demonstrate the importance of companion ani-
mals in the dynamics of intimate partner violence. Jerolmack (2007) examines the impor-
tance of animals in constructing ethnicity and how some species become constructed as
social problems (Jerolmack, 2008). Nibert (2002) and Winders and Nibert (2004) articu-
late the myriad ways the oppression of animals and humans are linked within the system
of industrialized animal agriculture. Kalof (2007) documents the critical role animals have
played in Western society for thousands of years. These and many other recent studies
make that case that human interactions with nonhuman animals must be adequately theo-
rized to understand a number of key social phenomena. Further, social organizations are
frequently at the center of our most complex (and harmful) relations with animals (Gaines
& Jermier, 2000). In particular, Rémy (2003) and Smith (2002) have demonstrated that the
slaughterhouse occupies a contradictory position within society. Formal rules about requir-
ing humane slaughter acknowledge that sentient creatures are being killed.
1
Yet those who
are engaged in the work of the slaughterhouse also develop constructions that allow them
to carry out this work. This contradiction does not occur when the subject of the industrial
process is not an animal.
In this article, we test the argument—the Sinclair hypothesis—that suggests that the
work of industrial animal slaughter with its inherent contradiction has a different effect on
local communities than other forms of industrial work. We examine the relationship
between slaughterhouse employment levels and crime rates, controlling for the variables
commonly proposed in the literature as associated with crime in communities, and we
compare the effects of the slaughterhouse industry with other manufacturing industries that
are similar in labor force composition, injury and illness rates, but different in that the
materials of production are inanimate objects, rather than animals. Our immediate goal is
to examine the causes of crime in slaughterhouse communities, including the Sinclair
hypothesis, and thereby contribute to the discussion of whether or not this social problem
can be understood without taking account of “the animal Other” in human society.
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160 Organization & Environment / June 2009
The Community Effects of the Contemporary
Slaughterhouse Industry
The production and slaughter of animals for human consumption has increased dramati-
cally since the time of Sinclairs writing, facilitated by the “free” market and state policies
(Winders & Nibert, 2004). This increase has been accompanied by drastic changes in the
slaughterhouse or meatpacking industry—most notable in the past few decades—including
corporate consolidation, the relocation of slaughterhouses to rural areas, a depression in
wages, and the increased recruitment of immigrant workers (Stull & Broadway, 2004;
Winders & Nibert, 2004). These changes have attracted the attention of scholars who have
carefully documented three areas of impact: (a) influence on the physical environment and
human health in communities where slaughterhouses have been sited, (b) physical impacts on
the workers, and (c) social impacts in the communities. Our focus is on the latter category.
Ethnographic studies of communities where large slaughterhouses have been sited (such
as Finney County, Kansas; Lexington, Nebraska; Perry and Storm Lake, Iowa; Guymon,
Oklahoma; and Brooks, Alberta) have documented housing shortages (due to the influx of
workers into the community), increased demand for social assistance (due to a number of
factors, including the low wages paid by the industry, high injury and illness rates, and the
high employee turnover rate), and an increase in crime (Broadway, 2000; Stull & Broadway,
2004). Of these social problems, increased crime rates have been the least readily explainable.
The slaughterhouse community studies have documented dramatic increases in crime
that have outpaced increases in the population. Increases have been documented for violent
crimes (Broadway, 2000; Grey, 1998b; Stull & Broadway, 2004), property crimes (Grey,
1995), and drug offenses (Horowitz & Miller, 1999). Most of the increases in violent crime
rates have been attributed to increases in domestic violence and child abuse (Broadway,
1990, 2000, p. 40; Stull & Broadway, 2004, p. 103).
Crime Increases in Slaughterhouse Communities: Theory
The explanations proposed for the increase in crime rates in slaughterhouse communities
have coalesced into three categories grounded in the sociology of community crime: expla-
nations based on the demographic characteristics of the workforce, explanations based on
population booms and social disorganization, and explanations that point to unemploy-
ment. These categories are certainly not mutually exclusive; rather, they represent three
strains of thought that have developed rather distinctly in the literature on slaughterhouse
communities and in slaughterhouse communities themselves.
Crime as a result of the demographic characteristics of the workforce. Much attention has
been directed to the demographic profile of slaughterhouse employees. Whereas the general
public, media, and even government officials have focused on the immigration status of
slaughterhouse employees in relation to crime (discussed below), the academic literature has
focused on the age, gender, and marital status of the workers as posing an increased crimino-
genic risk, with young single males most likely to seek employment in the meatpacking indus-
try (Broadway, 1990, 1994, 2000, 2001; Broadway & Stull, 2006; Stull & Broadway, 2004).
It is, however, not clear that the bulk of those who move to slaughterhouse communities
are single males. Immigration for work purposes generally involves the following process:
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 161
solo men are recruited or come to an area for work; later their families follow; and subse-
quently other immigrants might follow, using social networks with individuals already
settled in the area to find employment (Dalla, Ellis, & Cramer, 2005; Martin, Taylor, & Fix,
1996). Although this pattern is characteristic of migrant farmer communities, the immi-
grants moving to slaughterhouse communities for work are usually not migrant farm work-
ers, although this is not meant to imply that there is never crossover between these groups.
The salient point here is that there are fewer solo males and more families in meatpacking
towns than in migrant farm worker towns because unlike migrant farm work, slaughter-
house jobs offer year-round employment and enough money to make supporting a family
more feasible (Martin et al., 1996).
The influx of immigrants into slaughterhouse communities has also been blamed for the
increase in crime. The transition to the use of immigrant labor has been a profound and highly
contested development in the meatpacking industry (Grey, 1998a). Immigrants who relocate
to communities to work in slaughterhouses are often scapegoated by the general public, the
media, government officials, and the meatpacking industry itself, in an attempt to explain
away the resultant social disruption in communities where slaughterhouses have been sited.
After a recent influx of slaughterhouses in Nebraska, a group of police officers and govern-
ment officials contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner in
Washington with concerns over the increased crime rates, which they attributed to the
increase in immigrants in their communities (Bacon, 1999). In Buena Vista County, Iowa, an
assumed link between immigration and crime became the central issue of the 1994 election
for the county attorney position. The challenger to the 16-year incumbent made the slaugh-
terhouse industry’s hiring practices a central theme of his campaign and accused a slaughter-
house company of “social pollution” (Grey, 1998b). The challenger won the primary. Racial
violence has erupted in some locations. For example, there have been reports of cross burn-
ings and physical confrontations in meatpacking towns in Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas (Dalla
et al., 2005). This notion that immigration leads to increases in crime is consistent with the
assumption of social disorganization theory that population heterogeneity and population
influxes result in the weakening of social institutions and crime increases.
Crime as the result of population booms and social disorganization. It has been hypoth-
esized that the sheer increase in population in some communities could foster social disor-
ganization, bringing about an increase in crime. Popular in studies of boomtowns,
2
this
hypothesis has also been proposed in studies of slaughterhouse communities (Broadway,
2000, 2007; Broadway & Stull, 2006; Markus, 2005; Stull & Broadway, 2004), and
assumes that preboom communities are stable and characterized by social cohesiveness,
where social control is made possible by a “high density of acquaintanceship” (Freudenberg,
1986). In areas that experience a population influx, newcomers bring new values that con-
flict with those of current residents and may disrupt established networks and support
systems (Broadway, 1990), perhaps resulting in a reduction of informal social control and
increases in personal disorganization and social isolation, exacerbating the frequency of
mental breakdowns, suicide, deviance, and social isolation (Broadway, 2000, p. 40).
Increased crime as a result of unemployment. It has also been proposed that slaughter-
house communities experience increased crime rates because the recruitment of workers
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162 Organization & Environment / June 2009
from outside the community, coupled with high turnover rates in the meatpacking industry,
might result in increased unemployment in the community (Eisnitz, 1997; Schlosser, 2005).
Eisnitz (1997) explicitly argues that former slaughterhouse workers may turn to crime due
to their unemployment. The empirical research on the relationship between crime and
unemployment rates in general (e.g., Cantor & Land, 1985), however, has found that the
relationship varies by type of crime and is not as straightforward as many assume.
In summary, the demographic characteristics of the workforce, the effects of population
influxes on social disorganization, and increased levels of unemployment have all been
invoked to explain increased crime rates in communities where slaughterhouses have opened.
However, none of these theories have been tested empirically. Additionally, the slaughter-
house community literature has not explicitly mentioned the possibility of a link between the
violent work undertaken in slaughterhouses and the social disruption in the surrounding com-
munities. One exception is Broadway (1990), who suggests that work-related stress might
contribute to the increases in crime and occurrences of other depression, divorce, and alcohol-
ism. The source of this “work-related stress,” however, has not been interrogated. Although
the possibility that the killing and dismembering of thousands of animals a day might con-
tribute to work-related stress and crime has not been addressed in the literature on slaughter-
house communities, the link has been raised by green criminology scholars.
Green Criminology and the Slaughtering of Animals
“Green Criminology(Lynch, 1990) examines “the study of those harms against humanity,
against the environment (including space) and against non-human animals committed by both
powerful institutions (e.g. governments, transnational corporations, military apparatuses) and
also by ordinary people” (Beirne & South, 2007, p. xiii). Within green criminology explicit
attention is paid to animals with the aim of developing a “nonspeciesist criminology” (Beirne,
1999; Cazaux, 1999) concerned with taking harm to animals seriously. Thus far, however,
attention has focused exclusively on individual actions against companion animals, such as
drawing a link between abuse perpetrated within the family and animal abuse (e.g.,
Fitzgerald, 2005; Flynn, 2000a, 2000b). Several scholars have argued that attention should
also be given to institutionalized practices that result in harm to animals but are considered
socially acceptable (Beirne, 2002, 2004, 2007; Beirne & South, 2007; Cazaux, 1999; South
& Beirne, 2006). In particular, the potential effects of institutionalized harm to animals on
those engaged in such activities needs consideration. This leads us to the Sinclair hypothesis—
the work of killing animals in an industrial process may have social and psychological
consequences for the workers over and above other characteristics of the work.
For example, Piers Beirne (2004) considers slaughterhouses the ideal site for investigating
the institutionalized harm to animals and how violence perpetrated against animals might
affect the perpetrators, even though the violence is socially sanctioned. He argues that
“Whenever human-animal relationships are marked by authority and power, and thus by
institutionalized social distance, there is an aggravated possibility of extra-institutional vio-
lence” (2004, p. 54). This proposition parallels studies of other types of work wherein the
institutionalized distance and aggression between people can spillover
3
into other social con-
texts, such as studies documenting extra-institutional violence among military personnel (e.g.,
Allen, 2000; Marshall, Panuzio, & Taft, 2005; Marshall & McShane, 2000; Mercier, 2000;
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 163
Rosen, Kaminski, Parmley, Knudson, & Fancher, 2003) and prison guards (Black, 1982;
Kauffman, 1988; Stack & Tsoudis, 1997). It also parallels claims made under the “brutaliza-
tion hypothesis.” According to this hypothesis, instead of having a deterrent effect on homi-
cides, the use of the death penalty (a clear example of state-sanctioned violence) increases
homicides due to the legitimization of the use of lethal violence. Research testing the
hypothesis, however, has had mixed results depending on the inclusion of a lagged effect
(King, 1978), whether the measure of homicides is disaggregated to take the relationship
between the offender and victim into consideration (Cochran & Chamlin, 2000; Cochran,
Chamlin, & Seth, 1994), and whether the studies are longitudinal or cross-sectional (Yang
& Lester, 2008).
More specific to the work in slaughterhouses, ethnographic accounts by Eisnitz (1997),
Fink (1998), and Rémy (2003) have emphasized the contradiction faced by slaughterhouse
workers between the rules that regulate the slaughter and the necessity of carrying out the kill-
ing in an efficient and routinized way. This contradiction is dramatized by the all-too-frequent
abuse of animals during the slaughtering process (see Grandin, 1988). Their studies, along
with Beirne’s proposition and Sinclairs 100-year-old hypothesis, draw our attention to the
possibility that negative effects of employment in arenas where institutionalized support for
violence exists and employees have total power over others (although circumscribed in
some regards; see Sykes, 1980) can result even when the “Others” being subjugated are
animals. This study provides an initial test of the propositions of Beirne and Sinclair. In
particular, we consider whether or not a relationship exists between slaughterhouse employ-
ment levels and community crime rates net of what is explained by the typical correlates
of crime and that is unique when compared with other similar industries.
Study Objectives and Research Hypotheses
The general objectives of this study are (a) to test the three theories proposed in the lit-
erature to explain increases in crime that are applicable to slaughterhouse communities but
afford no special theoretical status to slaughterhouse work and (b) to compare the effects of
slaughterhouse employment levels on crime rates with the effects of other industries catego-
rized mainly as manufacturing and similarly characterized by high immigrant worker con-
centrations, low pay, routinized labor, and dangerous conditions but that do not entail killing
and dismembering animals, to see if the effects of slaughterhouses are unique or are congru-
ent with those of enterprises with similar characteristics. Finding unique effects of slaugh-
terhouse employment compared to similar forms of industrial work would point to the type
of work undertaken in slaughterhouses as a contributor to the crime increases observed in
the communities. Therefore, the general hypothesis tested in this study is as follows:
Hypothesis: Controlling for the variables commonly proposed to explain crime, slaughter-
house presence and employment will be associated with increased crime rates. These
increases will be greater than those observed from industries that use the same type of
labor force, have high injury and illness rates, and entail routinized labor, but do not
involve killing and dismembering animals. In particular, rape and family violence will be
influenced by slaughterhouse work, net of other factors.
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164 Organization & Environment / June 2009
Testing the hypothesis requires ascertaining whether or not the increase in crime in
slaughterhouse communities can be explained by the variables proposed in the literature,
and if the effects are unique to slaughterhouses or if employment rates in similar industries
would result in similar increases in crime. The focus on rape and family violence is sug-
gested by scholars such as Adams (1991), Nibert (2002), Patterson (2002), and Spiegel
(1996) who posit a connection between the victimization of animals and the victimization
of less powerful human groups, such as children and women. It also reflects the claims
made by some of the scholars who have studied slaughterhouse communities that the
observed crime increases have been propelled by increases in domestic violence and child
abuse. Several issues were taken into consideration in designing a study to test this hypoth-
esis, and we describe these next.
Research Design and Methods
The unit of analysis for this study is the U.S. county. Only nonmetropolitan counties
not adjacent to metropolitan areas were analyzed to remove the potentially confounding
effects of urbanization and spillover from metropolitan areas to rural counties documented
in previous research (e.g., Lee & Ousey, 2001). Furthermore, rural counties in states with
right-to-work laws,
4
where most slaughterhouse facilities have been relocated to (Stull and
Broadway, 2004), are examined here. The result of these criteria is that 581 counties are
analyzed in this study (a complete list is available from the authors). The data were com-
piled from six secondary sources, for the period from 1994 to 2002.
5
Pooled time-series
cross-section (TSCS) techniques were used in analyzing the data, therefore the number of
data points is 5,229 (581 counties × 9 years of data).
The independent variables are the number of “Animal (except Poultry) Slaughtering”
employees in each county for each year and the number of employees in five comparison
industries for which bridgeable SIC-NAICS
6
data are available. These data were accessed
through the U.S. Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns. The number of slaughterhouse
employees is used instead of the number of slaughterhouse establishments because it has
greater variance (see Table 1) and provides us with more complete information about the
magnitude of employment than the number of slaughterhouses, which provides no informa-
tion about their size. The same is true of the comparison industries used (see Table 2). These
include iron and steel forging, truck trailer manufacturing, motor vehicle metal stamping,
sign manufacturing, and industrial laundering. These industries were selected because they
are similar to the slaughterhouse industry: They are categorized as manufacturing (with the
exception of one industry, which was included due to a high rate of immigrant concentra-
tion), the industries are characterized by high immigrant worker concentrations, low pay,
routinized labor, and dangerous conditions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004a, 2004b;
Cortes, 2005; U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). Unfortunately, comparisons could not be made
with agricultural production industries, as the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns
does not record that information.
There are 22 dependent variables in the analyses, including 14 arrest variables and
8 crime report variables drawn from the Uniform Crime Report.
7
Some of these variables
are of particular theoretical interest because they are violent offenses which are implicated
by the hypothesis that violence from the slaughterhouses would spillover into the larger
community. The other variables (i.e., property crimes) were identified by factor analysis as
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 165
Table 1
Trends in Slaughterhouse Establishment and Employment Variables, 1994-2002
Slaughterhouse Establishments Slaughterhouse Employment
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean Minimum Maximum
1994 0.28 0 6 57.14 0 3,750
1995 0.28 0 4 60.08 0 3,750
1996 0.29 0 4 67.02 0 3,750
1997 0.28 0 4 63.33 0 3,750
1998 0.47 0 5 64.86 0 3,750
1999 0.44 0 5 73.94 0 7,500
2000 0.44 0 5 71.89 0 7,500
2001 0.44 0 5 62.55 0 3,750
2002 0.38 0 4 57.49 0 3,750
Table 2
Slaughterhouse and Comparison Industries Characteristics
NAICS
311611
332111
336212
336370
339950
812332
Name
Animal (except Poultry)
Slaughtering
Iron and Steel Forging
Truck Trailer
Manufacturing
Motor Vehicle Metal
Stamping
Sign Manufacturing
Industrial Launderers
No. of employees
142,374
26,432
30,678
126,905
82,956
81,908
Immigrant Concentration
Part of Food
Manufacturing, which is
#7 in immigrant
concentration
Part of Fabricated Metal
Products, which is #18 in
immigrant concentration
Part of Motor Vehicles and
Equipment
manufacturing, which is
#35 in immigrant
concentration
Part of Motor Vehicles and
Equipment
manufacturing, which is
#35 in immigrant
concentration
Part of Miscellaneous
Manufacturing, which is
#4 in immigrant
concentration
Part of Personal and
Laundry Services, which
is #5 in immigrant
concentration
Injury/Illness
#15 for injury and
illness
#8 for injury / #7 for
injury and illness
#12 in injury and #12
in injury and illness
#19 in injury and
illness
Not among the highest
rates
Not among the highest
rates
Source: Information on the industry classification and number of employees obtained from County Business
Patterns Web site (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). Information on immigrant concentration obtained from Cortes
(2005). Information on illness and injury rates obtained from Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of
Labor (2004a, 2004b).
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166 Organization & Environment / June 2009
grouping together with the variables of most theoretical interest. Additionally, it seemed
prudent to include property offences in the analyses as the slaughterhouse community stud-
ies documented important shifts in these variables. Consistent with the theorized causes of
crime increases the following control variables are used: the number of males in the county
aged 15 to 34 years, population density, the total number of males, the number of people
in poverty, international migration, internal migration, total non-White and/or Hispanic
population, and the unemployment rate (the county population is accounted for in the
analyses through its use to create rates in the ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models
and as the exposure variable in the negative binomial regression models). (Please see the
appendix for the descriptive statistics and zero order correlations among the variables used
in the analyses).
The statistical approach used in this study was motivated by two factors: (a) the availa-
bility of longitudinal data and (b) the count nature of the dependent variables. In response
to the first factor, pooled fixed effects TSCS techniques are used. There are many advan-
tages to the use of this approach. Notably, it makes it possible to control for all time-invariant
county-specific variables (such as history and geographic location) not included in the
model but which could potentially result in a spurious relationship between the observed
independent variables and the dependent variables (Halaby, 2004; Wooldridge, 2002).
Because the dependent variables are counts (often with very small numbers) some of the
assumptions of OLS regression cannot adequately be met; specifically the assumptions of
homogeneity of error variance and normal error distributions are frequently violated with
units of analysis containing small population (such as rural counties; Osgood, 2000).
Recent criminological studies examining aggregate crime with expected small counts have
instead used regression models based on the Poisson distribution (Krivo & Peterson, 2004;
Lee, Martinez, & Rosenfield, 2001; Lee & Ousey, 2001; Osgood, 2000; Rosen et al., 2003).
However, the basic Poisson regression model assumes that the variance equals the mean.
This assumption is often violated in analyses of crime data. Violating this assumption pro-
duces underestimates of the standard errors and misleading significance tests. In instances of
overdispersion (where variance exceeds the mean), negative binomial regression (using the
Poisson distribution) is preferred, as it allows for overdispersion (Long, 1997; Osgood, 2000).
Therefore, negative binomial regression, which is a more conservative approach, is used in
the analyses conducted here with individual crime variables as the dependent variable.
For some analyses, crime rate variables were created and factor analyzed to create two
scales (arrest rate and report rate scales). Using the scales as dependent variables mitigates the
variables mitigates the violations of OLS regression assumptions by creating a more normal
distribution of scores than obtained with the counts or rates for particular crimes. To create
the scales the counts were first converted into rates. Then principal components analysis was
used to determine the factor structure, followed by iterative principal factors to obtain the
factor loadings. The resulting Arrest Rate Scale is made up of the following variables: rape,
robbery, burglary, other assaults, forgery, possessing stolen property, vandalism, offences
against the family, and disorderly conduct.
8
The same process was followed to create the
Report Rate Scale.
9
The Report Rate Scale is made up of the following variables: reports
of rape, robbery, assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Three pooled TSCS mod-
els were run with each of the scales in turn as the dependent variable (each with fixed
effects): (a) with the number of slaughterhouse workers as the sole independent variable,
(b) with the control variables added, and (3) with the comparison industries added.
10
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 167
Results
The results of the OLS regression models with the Arrest and Report Rate Scales in turn
as the dependent variables are described first. Then we describe the results of the negative
binomial regression models with individual crime variables as the dependent variables.
OLS Regression Analyses
As shown in Tables 3 and 4, the Number of Slaughterhouse Employees variable is a
significant predictor in all six models. With the Arrest Rate Scale as the dependent variable
(Table 3), the Slaughterhouse variable coefficient decreases from 0.019 to 0.013 with the
addition of the control variables, but it remains significant. This means that controlling for
all of the variables in the model, when the number of slaughterhouse workers increases by
1 the arrest rate scale increases by 0.013 arrests (p < .01).
The results are more substantial with the Report Rate Scale as the dependent variable
(Table 4). Controlling for all of the variables, the coefficient for slaughterhouse employ-
ment is 0.027 (p < .01). It is worth noting that none of the comparison industries have
significant effects on the Arrest Rate Scale or Report Rate Scale.
By fixing the control variables at their means and adjusting only the number of slaugh-
terhouse employees in a county it is possible to see how different levels of slaughterhouse
employment would affect the scales (see Table 5). An average-sized slaughterhouse, which
employs 175 people, would be expected to increase the arrest scale by 2.24 arrests and the
Table 3
Multiple Regression With Arrest Scale as the Dependent Variable (N = 4,646)
Coefficient (Standard Error)
Independent Variables Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Slaughterhouse employment 0.019 (0.004)*** 0.013 (0.004)** 0.013 (0.004)**
Unemployment 1.17 (0.346)** 1.164 (0.346)**
Number in poverty 0.0003 (0.0007) 0.0003 (0.0007)
Immigration 0.072 (0.028)* 0.069 (0.028)*
Migration 0.004 (0.003) 0.003 (0.003)
Number of non-Whites 0.008 (0.001)*** 0.008 (0.001)***
and/or Hispanics
Young males 0.003 (0.002) 0.003 (0.002)
Total number of males 0.009 (0.002)*** 0.009 (0.002)***
Population density 0.563 (0.257)* 0.556 (0.257)*
Iron and steel forging 0.204 (0.126)
Truck trailer manufacturing 0.016 (0.020)
Motor vehicle metal stamping 0.035 (0.061)
Sign manufacturing 0.011 (0.013)
Industrial launderers 0.086 (0.062)
Model F value 21.36*** 19.83*** 19.72***
R
2
.004 .040 .030
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
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168 Organization & Environment / June 2009
Table 4
Multiple Regression With Report Scale as the Dependent Variable (N = 4,646)
Coefficient (Standard Error)
Independent Variables Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Slaughterhouse employment 0.039 (0.008)*** 0.027 (0.008)** 0.027 (0.008)**
Unemployment 2.035 (0.662)** 2.027 (0.662)**
Number in poverty 0.006 (0.001)*** 0.006 (0.001)***
Immigration 0.264 (0.053)*** 0.263 (0.054)***
Migration 0.014 (0.005)** 0.014 (0.005)**
Number of non-Whites and/or Hispanics 0.012 (0.002)*** 0.012 (0.002)***
Young males 0.003 (0.003) 0.003 (0.003)
Total number of males 0.019 (0.003)*** 0.019 (0.003)***
Population density 0.308 (0.492) 0.312 (0.492)
Iron and Steel Forging 0.363 (.240)
Truck Trailer Manufacturing 0.060 (0.038)
Motor Vehicle Metal Stamping 0.113 (0.117)
Sign Manufacturing 0.018 (0.024)
Industrial Launderers 0.016 (0.118)
Model F value 21.51*** 15.46*** 10.39***
R
2
.003 .068 .068
**p < .01. ***p < .001.
report scale by 4.69 reports. Particularly telling is the fact that the expected arrest and
report values in counties with 7,500 slaughterhouse employees are more than double the
values where there are no slaughterhouse employees.
These results demonstrate that the effect of slaughterhouse employment on these scales
cannot be explained away by the control variables and that the comparison industries do
not have similar significant effects. Also, because the analyses employ fixed effects they
also therefore control for time-invariant variables in these counties that might affect the
crime rates, such as geographic location. These findings, however, cannot provide insight
Table 5
Results of TSCS OLS Equation at Varying Levels of Slaughterhouse Employment,
Keeping Control Variables Constant (N = 4,646)
Slaughterhouse Employment Arrest Scale Report Scale
0 employees 69.32 115.40
10 employees 69.44 115.67
60 employees 70.09 117.01
175 employees 71.56 120.09
375 employees 74.13 125.45
750 employees 78.94 135.50
1,750 employees 91.78 162.30
3,750 employees 117.45 215.90
7,500 employees 165.59 316.39
Note: TSCS = time-series cross-section; OLS = ordinary least squares.
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 169
into how slaughterhouses, the comparison industries, and the control variables affect indi-
vidual crime variables. To provide this insight, we used negative binomial regression.
Negative Binomial Regression Analyses
Pooled TSCS negative binomial regression was performed on 11 individual dependent vari-
ables (7 arrest variables and 4 report variables).
11
These analyses were modeled with county
population set as the exposure variable
12
and county fixed effects. The same three models
were run for each of the dependent variables as was done with the OLS regression analyses.
The regressions were performed on the data for two time periods: the entire time period under
study (1994-2002) and the period before custom slaughter facilities were added to the slaugh-
terhouse industry category (1994-1997). A few words here regarding this change in classifica-
tion are warranted. In 1998, custom slaughtering facilities were added to the Animal (except
poultry) Slaughtering category (personal communication with Census Bureau representative,
May 2, 2006). Custom slaughter includes (a) slaughter or processing of uninspected food ani-
mals for the sole consumption of the owner; (b) slaughtering/processing animals as a custom
service for an individual who owns the animal, and uses the meat for his or her own consump-
tion. These tend to be very small establishments. This change in classification resulted in an
increase in the smaller slaughterhouse facilities from 1997 to 1998 (an increase of 514 facilities
employing 1 to 4 people). A potential consequence of this change in classification is that the
effects of slaughterhouses on crime in these years could be diluted in the aggregate data by the
increase in these small slaughter facilities, an issue that we discuss in more detail below.
The values reported in Tables 6 and 7 are the incidence-rate ratio (IRR)
13
values for the
most complete models (Model 3). Analysis of the precustom slaughterhouse period (1994-
1997), while controlling for all the control variables, indicates that slaughterhouse employ-
ment has a significant positive effect on the total number of arrests and arrests for violent
crimes (see Table 6). The IRR value for total number of arrests (1.000454) means that each
additional slaughterhouse employee would be expected to increase the total arrest rate by a
factor of 1.000454 or approximately 0.05%. Again, although on face value this may not
appear impressive, it is important to note that some of the large facilities employ thousands
of people, so that the actual effect could be much more substantial. For example, 4,000
slaughterhouse employees would increase the total number of arrests by approximately 2%.
The IRR value for the Arrests for Violent Crimes variable is interpreted to mean that
each additional slaughterhouse employee increases the expected number of violent arrests
by a factor of 1.000221 or by 0.0221%. Accordingly, 4,000 slaughterhouse employees
would be expected to increase the number of arrests for violent offenses by nearly 1%. Note
that only one of the comparison industries (motor vehicle metal stamping) has a significant
positive effect on any of the crime variables (rape reports) and there are several instances
where the comparison industries have significant negative effects.
When the entire time period is examined (Table 7), the effect of slaughterhouse employment
on total arrests and arrests for violent crimes is no longer significant in the expected direction.
This is likely due to the inclusion of the custom slaughter facilities. However, in the analysis
of the entire time period, the slaughterhouse employment variable has a significant positive
effect on arrests for rape and for other sex offenses (the effects are in the same direction in the
previous analysis, but it is possible that they are significant here because of the increase in data
points). Additionally, these effects are not found in the comparison industries.
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170
Table 6
Effects of the Independent and Control Variables (Net of the Other Variables)
on the Crime Variables of Interest, 1994-1997 (N = 1,743)
Independent Total Violent Murder Rape Family Sex Assault Index Murder Rape Assault
Variables Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Reports Reports Reports Reports
Slaughterhouse 1.000454** 1.000221* 1.000869 1.000059 1.000222 1.000083 1.000196 .9997331 1.001345 1.000008 0.9999967
employment
Unemployment 0.9267538*** 0.9981239 1.040852 1.024633 0.9700561 1.031244 1.004418 0.9448218*** 0.9880815 0.9971552 0.9490392**
Number 1.000018* 0.9999896 0.9999166* 0.9999978 0.9999625 0.9998982*** 0.9999922 1.000016 1.000019 1.000032 1.000039*
in poverty
Immigration 0.9990475 0.9968228* 0.9953541 0.9979653 1.003668** 1.000434 0.9965581* 1.002738*** 1.000711 1.000913 1.000715
Migration 1.000243*** 0.9999918 1.000304 0.9999951 0.9998443 0.9999715 0.9999702 0.9999195** 1.000048 0.9997468** 0.999887*
Non-White/ 1.000464*** 1.000038* 1.000049 1.00001 1.000015 1.000006 1.000036 0.9999082*** 1.00006 1.000065 0.9999471**
Hispanic
Number of 0.9994193*** 1.000081 0.9996847 1.00012 1.000025 0.9998274 1.000141 1.000807*** 0.9997969 1.000182 1.00056***
young males
Total number 0.9993236*** 0.9998762** 1.000111 0.9998887 0.9998898* 0.9999842 0.9998497*** 0.9997796*** 1.000049 0.9999179 0.9997982***
of males
Population 1.073137 0.9988433 0.9972847 1.036529 1.002707 1.00699 1.000122 0.9891606** 0.9937794 0.9966124 1.000516
density
Iron and 0.9968899 0.989946 1.031706 0.9604903* 1.024801 1.001263 0.9894973 1.005325 1.037114 0.9883354 0.9877602
Steel Forging
Truck Trailer 0.9979979*** 0.9980742** 0.9979514 0.9997399 0.9983923 1.000406 0.997983** 1.000048 0.9995342 0.9996249 0.9987897
Manufacturing
Motor Vehicle 0.9992525 0.9946924* 0.9985286 0.9992979 0.9985946 0.9997529 0.9953782 0.9941526** 1.000061 1.072275* 1.00843
Metal
Stamping
Sign 1.003135 1.000377 1.004712 1.002019 0.9996684 1.003013 0.999614 0.9896203*** 0.9935767 0.9949149** 0.9920695***
Manufacturing
Industrial 1.006312 1.00489 .9862215 0.9974364 1.011544 1.009035 1.00595 1.005605 0.993868 1.005044 1.004502
Launderers
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
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171
Table 7
Effects of the Independent and Control Variables (Net of the Other Variables)
on the Crime Variables of Interest, 1994-2002 (N = 4,646)
Independent Total Violent Murder Rape Family Sex Assault Index Murder Rape Assault
Variables Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Arrests Reports Reports Reports Reports
Slaughterhouse 0.9993113*** 0.9993811*** 1.000044 1.000327** 0.9996448*** 1.000202* 0.9994051*** 0.999141*** 1.000081 0.9993045*** 0.9992509***
employment
Unemployment 1.024472*** 1.01407* 1.017718 1.049572*** 0.9748383** 1.008044 1.013346* 0.9803073** 1.001645 1.001668 0.9848345*
Number 1.000004 1.000008 0.9999858 1.000019 0.9999584* 0.9999497** 1.00001 1.00003** 1.000037* 1.000008 1.000034**
in poverty
Immigration 0.9998359 1.000491 1.000039 1.000373 1.001244* 1.001403* 1.000503 1.002717*** 0.9999194 1.001314** 1.002496***
Migration 1.000391*** 1.000358*** 1.000429*** 1.000305*** 1.000048 1.000068 1.000332*** 1.000353*** 1.000269** 1.000144** 1.000348***
Non-White/ 1.000103*** 1.000055*** 1.000065*** 1.000068*** 1.00004*** 0.9999926 1.000047*** 1.000063*** 1.000084*** 1.000036** 1.000027***
Hispanic
Number of 0.9999787* 0.999984 1.000046 0.999983 0.9999822 0.999893** 0.9999805 0.9999704* 0.9999701 0.9999002*** 0.9999574*
young males
Total number 0.9998677*** 0.9998769*** 0.9999138*** 0.9999041*** 0.9998871*** 0.9999781 0.9998815*** 0.9999053*** 0.9999452* 0.999974 0.9999168***
of males
Population 1.00558*** 1.002586 1.003975 1.000542 1.003551* 1.002014 1.003026* 0.9985326 1.003147 1.000152 0.9996134
Density
Iron and 0.9921377*** 0.9918974*** 0.9957149 0.9926863* 0.9944603** 0.9924746 0.9924163*** 0.9959642** 1.005719 0.9969287 0.9926321***
Steel Forging
Truck Trailer 0.9992624* 1.000008 0.9994264 1.000295 1.0002 1.000339 1.000083 1.000966** 0.9998746 1.000313 1.000424
Manufacturing
Motor Vehicle 1.000723 0.9993025 1.000228 1.000279 0.9997799 1.001256 0.9995619 0.9993088 1.000025 0.9989647 0.998472
Metal Stamping
Sign 1.000269 1.000019 1.000082 0.9997824 0.9999199 0.9999348 1.000124 0.9972855*** 0.9998537 0.9992095 0.9980522**
Manufacturing
Industrial 1.002269* 1.000014 1.000547 0.999034 1.001069 1.000004 0.9998854 1.004173*** 1.002587 1.000645 1.001481
Launderers
*p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
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172 Organization & Environment / June 2009
Figure 1
Log Scale Prediction Equation Values for Total Arrests,
Arrests for Violent Offenses, Rape, and Sexual Assaults
01060 175 375 750 1750 3750 7500
Number of Slaughterhouse Employees
Incidence-Rate Ratios
Average size
slaughterhouse
Large
slaughterhouse
0
0.0005
0.001
0.0015
0.002
0.0025
0.003
0.0035
0.004
0.0045
Total Arrests Arrests for Violent Offenses
Arrests for Rape Arrests for Sexual Assaults
With these data we can estimate the effects of varying levels of slaughterhouse employ-
ment on the four variables that slaughterhouse employment significantly predicts. Figure 1
demonstrates how the effects of slaughterhouse employment on these variables become
particularly pronounced with higher levels of employment in the industry.
Discussion and Conclusions
We anticipated that controlling for key variables (the number of young men in the
county, population density, the total number of males, the number of people in poverty,
international migration, internal migration, total non-White and/or Hispanic population,
unemployment rate, and the total county population), slaughterhouse employment levels
would be associated with increased crime rates in counties, and that the effects would be
greater than the effects of employment in the comparison industries. Two techniques were
employed to test this hypothesis. The first technique is OLS regression using the arrest and
report scales in turn as the dependent variable. The results using this technique are consist-
ent with our hypothesis: Slaughterhouse employment is a significant predictor of both
the arrest and report rate scales with all the control variables included in the model.
The comparison industries do not have parallel effects: none of the comparison industries
have significant positive effects on the Arrest and Report Scales.
Positive effects of slaughterhouses employment levels on crime rates were also found
using pooled TSCS negative binomial regression to regress individual arrest and report
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 173
variables. In the results derived from the entire time period, and controlling for the extrane-
ous variables, slaughterhouse employment has significant effects on arrests for rape and
arrests for sex offenses. Of the comparison industries, only iron and steel forging demon-
strates a significant effect on arrests for rape, but it is a negative one. Thus, controlling for
the other variables, an increase in employment in iron and steel forging is associated with
a decrease in arrests for rape.
The effects of slaughterhouse employment on the arrests for rape and other sex offenses
are not significant in the analysis of the data prior to the inclusion of custom slaughter
facilities (1994-1997). This is not surprising given that the analysis of the entire time period
includes more than double the number of observations than the period before the inclusion
of custom slaughter facilities. For the analyses of the entire time period (1994-2002), 4,646
observations are analyzed (581 counties × 8 years [8 years of observations instead of 9 are
included in the analyses as the result of the one year lag] 2 missing cases = 4,646]. For
the analyses of the time period before custom slaughter facilities were added to the slaugh-
terhouse categorization (1994-1997), 1,743 observations are analyzed (581 counties
3 years = 1,743). Slaughterhouse employment is a significant predictor of two variables for
the period before custom slaughter facilities were added to the slaughterhouse categoriza-
tion: total arrests and violent arrests. Only one of the comparison industries (Truck Trailer
Manufacturing) has a significant effect on the total arrests variable, but it is a negative
effect and therefore an increase in the number of truck trailer employees in these counties
would be expected to decrease the number of total arrests.
The IRR value for the slaughterhouse employment variable in predicting violent arrests is
1.0002 (rounded), controlling for the other variables. Two of the comparison industries (Truck
Trailer Manufacturing and Motor Vehicle Metal Stamping) have significant effects on violent
arrests, but both are negative. Again, we would therefore expect that an increase in the number
of employees in these industries would be associated with a decrease in the number of arrests
for violent offenses. Thus, the results of the pooled TSCS OLS regression and pooled TSCS
negative binomial regression both demonstrate that slaughterhouse employment does have
significant positive and unique effects on the Arrest and Report Rate Scales, as well as on rates
of total arrests, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offences,
controlling for the number of young men in the county, population density, the total number of
males, the number of people in poverty, international migration, internal migration, total non-
White and/or Hispanic population, the unemployment rate, and the total county population.
The effect of slaughterhouse employment on offenses against the family was significant
and negative for the analysis of the entire time period, and positive but not significant for
the analysis of the 1994-1997 data. The negative effect found in the 1994-2002 analysis
may be the result of including the custom slaughter facilities. It is also worth noting that
the Offenses Against the Family variable consists of unlawful nonviolent acts by family
members against each other (U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation,
2004). Therefore, there is not a clear measure of family violence in the Uniform Crime
Reports that includes violence against family members. Perhaps the inclusion of violent
forms of offenses against the family in this variable would have made the effects of slaugh-
terhouse employment clearer. Additionally, we cannot assess the effect of slaughterhouse
employment on reports of offenses against the family, because, as previously mentioned,
only data on reports for Part I or Index offenses are collected (including murder, rape,
robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson).
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174 Organization & Environment / June 2009
Increases in slaughterhouse employment had a significant positive effect on rape arrests
across the entire time period under study. However, this effect was not significant when fewer
observations were analyzed for the period before custom slaughter facilities were added
(1994-1997). Similarly, slaughterhouse employment did not have a significant effect on
reports of rape for the years 1994 to 1997. Slaughterhouse employment did have a significant
negative effect on the rape reports variable for the analysis of the entire time period. It is pos-
sible that this result was impacted by the inclusion of the custom slaughter facilities.
14
The significant positive effect of slaughterhouse employment on sex offenses is also note-
worthy. Although this variable excludes forcible rape and prostitution, it does include sexual
attacks on males, incest, indecent exposure, statutory rape, and “crimes against nature” (U.S.
Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2004). Many of these offenses are
perpetrated against those with less power, and we interpret this as evidence that that the work
done within slaughterhouses might spillover to violence against other less powerful groups,
such as women and children. Further, the positive effects of slaughterhouse employment on
rape and other sexual assaults were not observed in the comparison industry analyses.
15
The results presented here therefore demonstrate significant and unique effects of
slaughterhouse employment on several crime variables. These effects are not found in the
comparison industries, and they cannot be explained by unemployment, social disorgani-
zation, and demographic variables. Additionally, the differences in the results before and
after custom slaughter facilities were added to the slaughterhouse category also suggests
that the industrialization of slaughter has the strongest adverse effects, whereas the addi-
tion of the smaller, custom slaughter facilities likely adds “noise” to the analyses and may
even be adding the effects of social capital (related to small businesses and small-scale
agriculture). Given the highly stochastic nature of the arrest and report variables in rural
counties, the findings presented here are quite suggestive.
A few words on the performance of the control variables are in order. Recall that the
control variables have gathered into three groupings in the literature: demographic, social
disorganization, and unemployment. The control variables with the most explanatory power
in predicting the crime variables in this study include the unemployment variable and some
of the social disorganization variables (specifically migration and immigration). The effects
of the demographic variables were largely contradictory and close to zero. The arguments
that have been used to explain the slaughterhouse effect overall find limited substantiation
here, again supporting the claim that there is something unique about slaughterhouse work.
The major limitation of our study is the reliance on Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data.
Although many studies of crime rely on the UCR for their data (such as Kawachi, Kennedy,
& Wilkinson, 1999; Krivo & Peterson, 2004; Lee & Ousey, 2001; Wilkinson, Reynolds, et al.,
1984), shortcomings of the data have been identified. For instance, official statistics obviously
exclude those crimes that law enforcement officials are not aware of. However, for some
offenses, such as motor vehicle theft and homicide (Kawachi et al., 1999), and serious crimes
more generally (Sampson, 1987), the undercount is trivial. There are also problems related to
the ability of victims and witnesses to recall and report accurate information, limitations of
police resources for making arrests, and inconsistencies in the deployment of resources and
enforcement of laws across geographic areas (Krivo & Peterson, 2004; Sampson & Groves,
1989). The validity of official statistics has been questioned particularly in areas undergoing
rapid growth. It is possible that increases in official crime rates in growing areas are the result
of increases in police staff, additions which are common in boomtowns. It is also possible that
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 175
increases in crime rates in boomtowns might be partly due to increased reports by law enforce-
ment officials in an attempt to justify increasing their resources (Gold, 1982). On the other
hand, residents in stable areas have been known to assert that the police record even minor
incidents because their time is not occupied with serious offenses (Freudenberg & Jones,
1991), thus potentially increasing crime rates at the less severe end of the spectrum. Some have
suggested that victimization data be used instead of arrest and report data; however, victimiza-
tion data are more limited and few differences have been found between the arrest rates of the
UCR and offending rates estimated from the national victimization survey (Sampson, 1987).
Despite the critiques of official arrest and report data, these data are the best sources of sys-
tematic and timely offense information at the county level (Miles-Doan, 1998).
Our results cannot be generalized to counties in states without right-to-work laws and to
counties in or adjacent to metropolitan areas. Subsequent research expanding these delimi-
tations might provide interesting information about the effects of labor unions and urbani-
zation on social disruption in communities surrounding slaughterhouses.
Finally, the aggregated level of the data poses three limitations: (a) There may be inconsist-
encies in reporting across counties and the small number of certain types of crime (such as
homicide) may make reliable estimates difficult (Pridemore, 2005). However, given the scope
of this study and the need for comparable crime data at a fairly low level of aggregation, there
are no viable alternatives to using official crime data at the county level. (b) Because of spatial
aggregation, the effects of slaughterhouses might be muted and thus make the analysis rather
conservative. (c) These data provide a broad picture, but do not enable gaining a clear under-
standing of the dynamics in these communities, such as who is actually committing the
crimes, or if some jobs in slaughterhouses are more problematic than others. Thus, although
this study does not permit one to draw conclusions about the individuals who work in
slaughterhouses, it nonetheless is a first step in better understanding what is occurring in
slaughterhouse communities. It is therefore an important complement to micro-level survey
or ethnographic research that would permit a more nuanced analysis of what is occurring in
the work and life experiences of those involved in the slaughterhouse industry but would not
allow the detection of overall patterns and control for alternative theoretical explanations.
In conclusion, despite some limitations, our research makes valuable theoretical and
empirical contributions to a developing sociology of the slaughterhouse. This study is the
first to test the theories proposed to explain increased crime in slaughterhouse communities,
16
providing evidence that elaborates on the case study research that initially documented
increased crime in communities where large slaughterhouses were sited. The inclusion of
comparison industries as well as standard predictors of crime rates in our analyses supports
the claim that slaughterhouses have a unique and insidious effect on the surrounding com-
munities. Although studies have found that employment in the manufacturing sector in
general has suppressant effects on crime (e.g., Lee & Ousey, 2001), this is clearly not the
case for the slaughterhouse subsector of manufacturing. Meaningful theoretical and empir-
ical distinctions can and ought to be drawn between slaughterhouse employment and other
types of manufacturing employment. In particular, our results lend support to the argument,
first articulated by Sinclair, and since elaborated by Beirne, that the industrial slaughter-
house is different in its effects from other industrial facilities. We believe that this is another
of a growing list of social problems and phenomena that are undertheorized unless explicit
attention is paid to the social role of nonhuman animals.
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176
Appendix
Descriptive Statistics and Zero Order Correlations
Descriptive Statistics and Zero Order Correlations, Independent Variables,
Control Variables, and Summary Arrest Variables
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.
1. Slaughterhouse employment 1
2. Slaughterhouse establishments .338 1
3. Total arrests .021 .015 1
4. Violent crime .013 .05 .545 1
5. Number in poverty .08 .133 .398 .361 1
6. Unemployment rate .062 .12 .322 .381 .344 1
7. Immigration .513 .188 .095 .052 .366 .163 1
8. Migration .176 .080 .035 .023 .139 .071 .198 1
9. Non-White or Hispanic residents .113 .058 .362 .354 .822 .426 .477 .231 1
10. Population density .080 .054 .358 .3122 .548 .171 .169 .007 .425 1
11. Number of males .168 .213 .344 .294 .880 .173 .439 .119 .700 .597 1
12. Males aged 15 to 34 years .187 .195 .304 .257 .849 .187 .510 .176 .727 .552 .959 1
Mean 64.26 0.37 3348.05 99.07 2239.99 5.02 15.95 33.84 3077.25 22.2 6816.09 1988.33
Median 0 0 3002.79 67.97 1281.50 4.20 3 25 764.5 12.54 4529 1184
Standard deviation 402.36 0.65 2605.23 111.06 2548.04 3.06 47.48 260.96 5449.53 32.09 6908.21 2394.04
Minimum 0 0 0 0 8.25 1 6 4,083 1 0.1 34 3
Maximum 7,500 6 27,044 1,288 21,450 38.4 777 3,281 47,049 519 66,194 22,118
Note: Correlations and descriptive statistics for dependent variables are shown as crime rates per 100,000 population.
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177
Descriptive Statistics and Zero Order Correlations, Independent Variables,
Control Variables, and Individual Arrest Variables
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
1. Slaughterhouse 1
employment
2. Slaughterhouse .338 1
establishments
3. Murder .011 .026 1
4. Rape .036 .022 .116 1
5. Robbery .008 .025 .229 .249 1
6. Aggravated .016 .052 .216 .297 0.500 1
assault
7. Other .076 .026 .194 .286 .495 .482 1
assaults
8. Sex .029 .016 .092 .147 .182 .218 .325 1
offenses
9. Offenses .004 .017 .129 .168 .330 .269 .352 .193 1
against
the family
10. Disorderly .029 .015 .161 .188 .384 .345 .522 .185 .312 1
conduct
11. Number .080 .133 .145 .206 .436 .311 .445 .122 .216 .311 1
in poverty
12. Unemployment .062 .120 .178 .151 .331 .349 .319 .102 .235 .284 .344 1
rate
13. Immigration .513 .188 .009 .038 .068 .048 .144 .050 .011 .023 .366 .163 1
14. Migration .176 .080 .001 .006 .031 .032 .089 .019 .017 .092 .139 .071 .198 1
15. Non-White .113 .058 .168 .197 .469 .294 .466 .120 .253 .322 .822 .426 .477 .231 1
or Hispanic
residents
16. Population .080 .054 .095 .145 .310 .287 .360 .098 .166 .182 .548 .171 .169 .007 .425 1
density
17. Number .168 .213 .086 .160 .335 .261 .398 .126 .147 .226 .880 .173 .439 .119 .700 .597 1
of males
18. Males .187 .195 .075 .145 .307 .226 .355 .108 .127 .203 .849 .187 .510 .176 .727 .552 .959 1
aged 15
to 34 years
Mean 64.26 0.37 3.56 6.44 8.3 80.21 289.45 14.74 48.87 134.18 2239.9 5.02 15.95 33.84 3077.3 22.2 6816.1 1988.3
Median 0 0 0 0 0 53.51 218.76 7.67 15.81 70.72 1281.5 4.20 3 25 764.5 12.54 4,529 1,184
Standard 402.4 0.65 11.64 11.76 15.95 94.96 283.35 23.63 92.21 193.69 2548 3.06 47.48 260.96 5449.5 32.09 6908.2 2,394
deviation
Minimum 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.25 1 6 4,083 1 0.1 34 3
Maximum 7,500 6 366.1 245.1 174.98 1143.4 2108.6 530.51 1680.2 2098.6 21450 38.4 777 3,281 47,049 519 66,194 22,118
Note: Correlations and descriptive statistics for dependent variables are shown as crime rates per 100,000 population.
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178
Descriptive Statistics and Zero Order Correlations, Independent Variables,
Control Variables, and Crime Report Variables
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
1. Slaughterhouse 1
employment
2. Slaughterhouse .338 1
establishments
3. Index .095 .132 1
reports
4. Murder .004 .022 .197 1
5. Rape .086 .082 .544 .135 1
6. Robbery .031 .028 .595 .219 .350 1
7. Assault .010 .017 .679 .220 .406 .511 1
8. Burglary .032 .059 .847 .226 .467 .590 .601 1
9. Motor .076 .117 .780 .180 .438 .494 .532 .672 1
vehicle theft
10. Arson .009 .029 .378 .111 .264 .186 .293 .355 .344 1
11. Number .080 .133 .526 .144 .326 .580 .385 .498 .455 .169 1
in poverty
12. Unemployment .062 .120 .133 .136 .067 .240 .248 .210 .103 .044 .344 1
rate
13. Immigration .513 .188 .283 .026 .180 .173 .150 .204 .261 .071 .366 .163 1
14. Migration .176 .080 .074 .006 .101 .116 .016 .039 .031 .038 .139 .071 .198 1
15. Non-White .113 .058 .443 .162 .2737 .618 .350 .443 .371 .114 .822 .426 .477 .231 1
or Hispanic
residents
16. Population .080 .054 .416 .082 .258 .401 .294 .318 .355 .1443 .548 .171 .169 .007 .425 1
density
17. Number .168 .213 .562 .081 .346 .492 .341 .455 .475 .171 .880 .173 .439 .119 .700 .597 1
of males
18. Males aged .187 .195 .517 .073 .320 .457 .316 .4138 .425 .147 .849 .187 .510 .176 .727 .552 .959 1
15 to 34 years
Mean 64.26 0.37 1827.9 3.25 14 15.743 142.1 429.53 87.83 11.83 2239.99 5.02 15.95 33.84 3077.25 22.2 6816.09 1988.33
Median 0 0 1523.5 0 0 0 83.20 367.60 70.19 0 1281.50 4.20 3 25 764.5 12.54 4,529 1,184
Standard deviation 402.36 0.65 1611.9 8.82 20.88 31.55 181.13 390.19 88.16 22.51 2548.04 3.06 47.48 260.96 5449.53 32.09 6908.21 2394.04
Minimum 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.25 1 6 4,083 1 0.1 34 3
Maximum 7,500 6 9630.4 173.71 245.1 405.34 2808.7 3076.9 697.67 528.17 21,450 38.4 777 3,281 47,049 519 66,194 22,118
Note: Correlations and descriptive statistics for dependent variables are shown as crime rates per 100,000 population.
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Fitzgerald et al. / Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates 179
Notes
1. Similar contradictions have been noted in examinations of vivisection (see Adams, 2000; Balcombe,
2000; Dunayer, 2000; Fox, 2000). Animals are used in experiments precisely because they share many charac-
teristics and qualities with humans, and all the while linguistic devices are employed to distance the experi-
menters from their subjects.
2. Boomtown communities are characterized by the following features: They experience unprecedented
population growth within a short amount of time; relatedly, they experience expanded employment opportuni-
ties; and they also experience heavy demands on social services (Camasso & Wilkinson 1990).
3. The use of the term spillover here derives from the cultural spillover of violence theory developed by Larry
Baron and Murray Straus (1987, 1988; Baron, Straus, & Jaffe 1988). The central tenet of this theory is that
The more a society tends to endorse the use of physical force to attain socially approved ends—such as
order in the schools, crime control, and military dominance--the greater the likelihood that this legitima-
tion of force will be generalized to other spheres in life, such as the family and relations between the
sexes, where force is less approved socially. (Baron et al., 1988, p. 80)
Although the authors did not specifically discuss the slaughter of animals as part of this process, we argue here
that it is a possibility.
4. In these states, employees cannot be required to join or pay dues to a union and may resign from the union
at any time, but still enjoy the benefits of the collective agreement. The following are the right-to-work states
included in the analyses in this study: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.
5. This time period is used because due to reporting changes in the Uniform Crime Report data, data prior
to 1994 are not comparable with data from later years, and at the time of the study some of the demographic
variables were not yet available at the county level for 2003 and later.
6. In 1998, the classification of industries changed from the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system
to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), and only some industries remain comparable
across the time period.
7. The arrest variables used include the following: Total arrests, Violent offenses, Murder, Rape, Offenses
against the family, Sex offenses, Assault, Robbery, Burglary, Forgery, Possessing stolen property, Vandalism,
Other assaults, and Disorderly conduct. The report variables used include: Index offenses, Murder, Rape,
Assault, Robbery, Burglary, Motor vehicle theft, and Arson.
8. The factor loadings are all above the commonly accepted minimum values of 0.3 to 0.4 and the
Chronbach’s alpha for the scale is .6728.
9. Again, all of the loadings for these variables were above the acceptable range and Chronbach’s alpha was
.6062.
10. As is commonly done in panel studies, in the analyses here the Slaughterhouse Employment variable
and the comparison industry variables were lagged 1 year because their impact on crime would likely not be
felt in the same year in these counties. More likely, the impact would be felt the following year (especially in
cases where the industry opened or expanded late in the year).
11. The variables analyzed include the following: Total number of arrests, Arrests for violent crimes, Arrests
for murder, Arrests for rape, Arrests for offenses against the family, Arrests for sex offenses (excluding rape),
Arrests for aggravated assault, Total reports for index offenses, Reports of murder, Reports of rape, and Reports
of assault.
12. Negative binomial regression requires that an exposure variable be identified to differentiate across
cases differences in the possibility of being “exposed” to the effect. Long and Freese (2006) use the example
of time as an exposure variable. In this study, however, it is not time that differentiates the likelihood of crime
in the counties but the differences across counties in population (a larger number of people makes the possibility
of offending or being victimized greater). Therefore, we set county population as the exposure variable. Including
the exposure variable adds the natural log of the size of the population at risk to the model. Thus, in essence, the
model analyzes per capita rates of crime instead of merely counts of crime even though the dependent variable is
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180 Organization & Environment / June 2009
a count, not a rate. This is standard practice in the quantitative criminology literature (Osgood, 2000). Using
the population as the exposure variable also permits an acknowledgement in the model that rates based on larger
populations have greater precision, which addresses the issue of heterogeneity of variance, which is problem-
atic in the use of OLS regression on count variables (Krivo & Peterson, 2004; Osgood, 2000)
13. The IRR values can be interpreted as the multiplicative factor by which a one unit change in the independ-
ent variable affects the dependent variable, controlling for the other variables. Therefore, an IRR value below
one indicates that the predictor variable (controlling for the other variables) decreases the incidence-rate, which
demonstrates a negative effect. Accordingly, an IRR value above one indicates an increase in the incidence-rate,
or a positive effect.
14. The change in classification to include small custom slaughterhouses in the slaughterhouse category may
affect these analyses in two ways. If the years after the reclassification are included, due to the way the County
Business Patterns categorizes the employee data (e.g., 1-19, 20-99) instead of reporting the exact number of
employees, the inclusion of small custom slaughter facilities could artificially increase the number of slaughter-
house workers in counties since the midpoint of the ranges are used in the analyses, therefore diluting the pos-
sible effect of slaughterhouse employment. In addition, work at a custom slaughterhouse may be episodic,
involving the slaughter of a relatively small number of animals in any given time period rather than the routinized
slaughter of the larger facilities. This means that workers may be less exposed to slaughter. If the years after the
reclassification are excluded, then these problems are avoided but the sample size is reduced from 4,646 to 1,743,
reducing the power of the analysis. Although this seems like a large sample, given the highly stochastic nature
of crime in rural communities, substantial power is required to see significant effects. Unfortunately, there is no
way to disaggregate the slaughterhouse data and exclude these facilities from the analysis.
15. It is also possible that if violent offenses committed by family members were included in the offenses
against the family category that the effect of slaughterhouse employment on offenses against the family would
have been positive and significant (instead of positive but not significant for the period prior to the inclusion of
custom slaughter facilities).
16. This study should not, however, be considered the definitive testing of these theories, or predictive
models of crime in general. Different operationalizations of the theories might have resulted in slightly different
findings. Further, The R
2
values of the models are low; however, the purpose of this research was to control for
the variables implicated in the theorized causes in the literature to assess the effects of slaughterhouse employ-
ment. It is also worth noting that there is some degree of multicolinearity among the variables. Specifically, the
total number of males, number of young males, and the number of people in poverty have variance inflation
factor (VIF) values greater than 4 (the values are 19.25, 15.64, and 8.01, respectively). Because this colinearity
is entirely among control variables, it has no important effect on the estimates of the effects of slaughterhouse
employment (the VIF value of the lagged slaughterhouse employment variable is 1.47).
Acknowledgements
An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2007 American Sociological
Association meetings. We would like to thank the session participants, as well as Michael
Broadway, Aaron McCright, Angela Mertig, Toby Ten Eyck and the members of the
Ecological and Cultural Change Studies Group at Michigan State University for their help-
ful comments regarding this study.
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York, R. (2004). Humanity and inhumanity: Toward a sociology of the slaughterhouse. Organization and
Environment, 17, 260-265.
Amy J. Fitzgerald is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology at
the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Her research interests include examining the implications of
animal slaughtering on communities, green criminology more generally, and gendered violence. Her recent
publications include The Animals Reader: The Essential Classic and Contemporary Writings (2007) and
Animal Abuse and Family Violence: Researching the Interrelationships of Abusive Power (2005).
Linda Kalof is a professor of sociology at Michigan State University. She studies the cultural representations of
humans and other animals and the links between culture and nature. Her publications include Looking at Animals
in Human History (2007), A Cultural History of Animals in Antiquity (2007), The Animals Reader: The Essential
Classic and Contemporary Writings (2007) and The Earthscan Reader in Environmental Values (2005).
Thomas Dietz is a professor of sociology and crop and soil science, Director of the Environmental Science and
Policy Program, and Assistant Vice President for Environmental Research at Michigan State University. His
research interests include the anthropogenic drivers of environmental change, deliberation in environmental
policy and the social psychology of environmental concern.
at UNIV OF WINDSOR on April 27, 2010 http://oae.sagepub.comDownloaded from
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... However, recent community-based studies also suggest that the presence of pets may have a positive effect on communities, providing opportunities for neighborly interaction and the exchange of social capital (Wood et al., 2005). Based on prior criminological research, the number of farms and farm animals present in a community provides not only a "suitable target" but also might perpetuate the cultural spillover discussed by Fitzgerald et al. (2009) whereby farm animal cruelty permeates violence in the community. ...
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... These different forms and connections of violence themselves often interconnect. For example, to elaborate on the last of these points listed above, and its linkages with some of the other aspects noted, previous studies on slaughterhouse communities have shown documented increase in violent crime, and the increases in domestic abuse and child abuse (Broadway, 1990(Broadway, , 2000Stull & Broadway, 2004;Fitzgerald et al., 2009). Similarly, cruelty to animals is bound up with violent behaviours towards other humans, as in the co-occurrence of animal abuse and intimate partner violence (Fitzgerald et al., 2019). ...
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This paper critically interrogates the usefulness of the concept of violence regimes for social politics, social analysis, and social theory. In the first case, violence regimes address and inform politics and policy, that is, social politics, both around various forms of violence, such as gender-based violence, violence against women, anti-lesbian, gay and transgender violence, intimate partner violence, and more widely in terms of social and related policies and practices on violence and anti-violence. In the second case, violence regimes assist social analysis of the interconnections of different forms and aspects of violence, and relative autonomy from welfare regimes and gender regimes. Third, the violence regime concept engages a wider range of issues in social theory, including the exclusion of the knowledges of the violated, most obviously, but not only, when the voices and experiences of those killed are unheard. The concept directs attention to assumptions made in social theory as incorporating or neglecting violence. More specifically, it highlights the significance of: social effects beyond agency; autotelic ontology, that is, violence as a means and end in itself, and an inequality in itself; the relations of violence, sociality and social relations; violence and power, and the contested boundary between them; and materiality-discursivity in violence and what is to count as violence. These are key issues for both violence studies and social theory more generally.
... Baran et al (2012) state the effects of a problematic work-life can spill over into family life with Eisnitz (2007) finding evidence of this in the context of US slaughterhouse workers. Fitzgerald et al (2009) found that the location of IMP facilities in the US, specifically slaughterhouses, was a significant predictor of increases in local violent and sexually related crime. ...
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