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Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.
Saturday, August 30, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle written by a fellow
activist, Karen Davis at UPC
(United Roultry Concerns) www.upc-online.org.
She runs a wonderful chicken sanctuary
in Machipongo, Virginia. Her commentary
was entitled "Will the McDonalds policy
cure cruelty to chickens?" It brought
up some really good points.
I sent in my own response to the
editor, but I don't think they printed it.
At least, I never heard back from them.
So, I will post it here. This is something
to think about when you are eating that
next piece of chicken:
Subject: Will the McDonalds policy cure cruelty to chickens?
I don't believe so. I worked at Tyson
chicken slaughter plant in Grannis, AR
(a supplier for McDonalds, KFC, etc.)
for a number of years, as well as a few
others. I caught chickens from the
houses as a teenager before that. I am
intimately familiar with the poultry
business and the living conditions of
I have seen the filth, death, and
disease that breed from these conditions
as well as the outright abuse the chickens
endure by the workers. What I have
seen is bad enough that my wife and
I no longer eat chicken, or any other
factory farmed animals.
I have seen the chickens blinded by
the ammonia fumes that build up in
the houses. I have had the ammonia
burns on my arms from handling the
chickens that were coated with it. My
exposure lasted only for a night's
work before I could wash it off. They
had to live that way.
I've seen chickens starve in the house
because their feet are stuck in the muck.
I've seen the catchers stomp, kick, and
slam chickens on the ground.I've seen them
"cull the runts" by pulling their heads off.
I've seen all the roosters of a breeder
house be killed by having their heads
bashed by a metal pipe, since they were
too big for our plant to hang, unlike the
spent hens. These, of course, don't go
to McDonalds directly, but this is a
by-product of the industry. These
chickens would be fed to other chickens
as well as to your pet dog.
What about all the chickens that don't
live long enough to make it to the
slaughter plant because they have
died of disease or killed by cruelty?
Technically McDonald's would be able
to say that their chickens didn't suffer
the cruelty that killed these. They are
wrong. Their chickens suffered the
same conditions and risks, but were
unfortunate enough to survive long
enough (a couple of months) to have
to suffer the final cruelty of all, the slaughter.
At the slaughter plant I've seen birds
scalded alive, pulled apart, and blown
up with dry ice bombs for laughs.
I've seen them run over by forklifts.
These issues have nothing to do with
These points don't list anywhere near
the routine cruelty I have seen through
the years, but they would not be
addressed by McDonalds in this new
policy. This new policy might ban
antibiotics used as growth-enhancers,
but as long as the farmers raise the
birds in the conditions they do, they
will have to give them antibiotics just
to keep them alive.
This is a good start McDonalds, but
it does not even scratch the surface
of what needs to be done to stop
the cruelty. If this was happening
to any other type of animal it would
be a criminal act. I think it should be.
You know, vegetarian chicken patties
taste real good, just like chicken. In
fact, that is what I had for supper
last night. We even had cream gravy
over rice to go with them. Yummmmm.....
Try them sometime. (Did I mention I've
been losing weight and getting healthier
since I started this guilt-free no-meat diet?)