The explosion of Covid-19 cases in meat factories has exposed the meat industry, and Irish society, to some uncomfortable truths.
In a Dáil debate last Thursday the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, revealed how workers in meat plants account for a staggering 94pc of all workplace-related cases of Covid-19.
It is understandable that meat factories are difficult places to control the spread of a viral disease like Covid-19.
But when you compare the level of exposure in hospitals and nursing homes, where medical staff and carers are dealing with Covid-19 'super-spreaders' on a daily basis, it is extraordinary that meat-plant workers end up being the worst-affected employees in the country.
Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, defended the sector following sustained questioning by a number of TDs, particularly Brian Stanley and Francis Duffy.
He claimed that it was in meat plant bosses' own interests to keep their staff healthy and safe.
But the figures clearly prove that there has not been enough done to protect the health of these employees.
Claims by employers that their foreign workers just weren't taking the situation seriously don't cut any ice either. If a worker in any business blatantly flouts health and safety regulations, it's grounds for dismissal.
Workers sharing accommodation or transport was another issue raised, but again protocols can be put in place by any large employer to ensure that anything that jeopardises the welfare of other staff is addressed.
Examples cited in the Dáil of workers being expected to use just one mask a week and being called from their sickbeds to return to work paint a poor picture of the meat processing sector.
Minister Creed was grilled as to why he didn't have figures outlining how many meat factories had been inspected by the Health and Safety Authority.
Despite concerns being raised about the situation in meat plants by local representatives nearly two months ago, there was a grand total of zero meat plant inspections by the HSA in relation to Covid-19 as of May 18.
The lack of urgency to tackle the situation by either the State authorities or the industry itself mirrors the indifference shown by wider society to the issue.
There has been wall-to-wall coverage of every angle of Covid-19 imaginable in print and on the airwaves for nearly three months. But I have never seen an interview with a meat plant worker in the Irish media.
Meat plants have never missed a beat during this pandemic, on the basis that they are an essential sector.
As Minister Creed put it in the Dáil debate, keeping the meat factories going was "crucial to keep supermarket shelves stocked, to keep people with a supply of safe food".
However, we know that over 90pc of the meat output from Irish plants is exported.
So who were we really keeping the plants open for?
Granted, farmers with stock ready to kill needed to keep them moving.
But at what cost? If the 828 positive cases in meat plants had been Irish citizens, would we have been as accepting of this logic?
Again, Minister Creed tried to downplay the dependence of meat plants on foreign workers, stating that the "overwhelming majority" are "citizens of European Union countries", which was a nice catch-all to cover all the Romanians, Bulgarians, Lithuanians and whoever else makes up the numbers.
Despite what Donald Trump would have us believe, there's no sign of a vaccine for Covid-19 any time soon.
The fastest vaccine that was ever developed was for Ebola, and that took five years to get across the line.
In the interim, we can't stay hiding under the bed.
Instead, we need to start thinking about how we gradually inoculate ourselves.
If the younger section of our population were able to develop a level of immunity to the disease, it would be a stronger barrier to transmission than any social distancing.
Perversely, the 16,000 meat plant workers may end up being one of the first blocks of immunity in our communities.
Their youth and general fitness means that they could have a level of immunity that will stop the disease in its tracks.
The least they deserve is the same level of concern about their welfare as we expect for the rest of society.
It's time for the double standards to end.