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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.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
must take the time to pause and
remember the events that brought
this country together 2 years ago
today. The past few days I have
been wondering to myself, "What
happened to that feeling of solidarity?
What happened to 'united we stand?'"
It seems that we have split apart
again into camps of pointing fingers
and argument. We have alienated a
good bit of the world that gave us
their sympathy and support. Today
we need to put all that aside and come
back together to remember what this is
It does not matter who should
have done this and who shouldn't
have done that. It is time for us all, as
Americans to once again come together
and remember our fallen ones and once
again be proud. It is again time to show
the world that, "UNITED WE STAND!!!"
Because we all know the second part,
"divided we fall....."
Always remember, "Freedom isn't free."
Now, someone has apparently taken the
time to question both sides of this story.
They contacted Tyson and PETA for their
positions on my statement and the
subsequent investigation going on at the
PETA forwarded to me the Tyson PR
man's response. Here are the relevant
points, and my answers to them:
(For anyone interested, I will be glad to
forward Tyson's official response, in full,
to you for your consideration. I have
simply edited it for brevity, since this
will be a long post anyway.)
We take very seriously the allegations
made by Virgil Butler regarding chicken
processing in our Grannis, Arkansas
plant, and cooperated fully in a
thorough investigation in cooperation
with the USDA, and with local law
enforcement officials in gathering
statements from others working
during the time period described by
I talked to those who were forced to
come into Tyson's office and write out
their statements refuting everything
I said. The sheriff did not take these
people to talk privately. To admit
anything in front of a supervisor
meant they would not only lose their
jobs, but also go to jail. Is this how
a proper investigation is conducted?
...he had never raised these issues
with any management, either at the
plant or corporate level. As far as I
know, he never raised the issue with
any civil authorities. It is corporate
policy for each plant to have posters
informing team members of the 1-800
ethics hotline, by which they may
(anonymously, if they choose) report
ethical violations to our corporate ethics
department...Records of these calls are
I repeatedly went to supervisors about
the problems. I cite some instances of
such attempts in my statement. Do you
think the supervisor would admit such a
thing to top management in Springdale
and lose their jobs?
As for the ethics line, that was a
requirement of them being on probation
over the attempted bribing of the head
of the Dept. of Agriculture.
The Ethics line was explained to us as
being for reporting harassment by a
supervisor, or if you caught bribes
passing from plant employees to USDA
inspectors, or to report a USDA inspector
harassing an employee. It had nothing to
do with anyone abusing chickens. The few
employees that told me they used this line
were fired shortly after. If everything is
recorded, how is it anonymous?
...USDA inspectors (there are at least
seven working on each production shift
in the Grannis plant-they visually inspect
each bird that comes down the line)
condemn birds that enter the feather
picking machinery without having been
killed. This condemnation is recorded
against the performance standards of
the plant, so managers have incentives
to ensure it does not occur.
Well, I have already addressed this problem
in another post, "The Col.'s secret recipe."
I have personally seen 40-50 birds go by
without getting killed. Then I saw paperwork
that only showed 15. What happened to
the others? I have even seen the inspectors
argue amongst themselves as to whether
a particular chicken was a cadaver or not.
Who do you think was watching the line
while they were arguing? No one, but me,
standing there killing. 7 inspectors watch
something over 100 employees on front-line
running 182 birds per minute on 4 lines.
How efficient do you think that is? Also,
they could have 3 fecal events per hour
without stopping the line, legally.
The plant makes no products for KFC.
I have seen the plant reports that say
otherwise. They may not now, but they did.
I even heard the supervisors talking about it.
...we are committed to handling and
processing chickens as humanely
Excuse me, I'm still laughing. Even though
it is not funny. Who do you think ordered
most of the atrocities I have discussed?
Did you know that an employee could be
fired for even talking to an inspector?
New-hires are shown a video when they
start work. A man named Leland Tollett
tells them not to not to talk to them, not
even to buy them a cup of coffee after work.
For anyone wanting to know more about
the dirty secrets of Tyson that go beyond
chickens, let me know. I have information
that goes way deeper than abusing chickens.
This information came from a site called
"The Catbird Seat," who was quoting
investigative reporter Ambrose Evans-
Pritchard in his book, "The Secret Life of
Did you know that there were
comprehensive intelligence files from
the Criminal Investigations Division
of the Arkansas State Police, going back
as far as the early 1970's with such famous
names as Don Tyson, the billionaire
president of Tyson Foods, connected with
Bill and Hillary Clinton?
There are files from the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency, marked DEA
SENSITIVE, under the rubric of the
"Donald TYSON Drug Trafficking
Organization." One was from the DEA
office in Oklahoma City, dated December
14, 1982. It cited a confidential informant
alleging that "TYSON smuggles cocaine
from Colombia, South America inside
race horses to Hot Springs, Arkansas."
It cited the investigation tracking number
for Don J. Tyson, a/k/a "Chicken Man,"
as Nadis 470067.
A second document from the DEA
office in Tucson, dated July 9, 1984,
stated that "the Cooperating Individual
had information concerning heroin,
cocaine and marijuana trafficking in
the States of Arkansas, Texas, and
Missouri by the TYSON organization."
The informant described a place called
"THE BARN" which TYSON used as a
"stash" location for large quantities of
marijuana and cocaine.
Two sets of documents refer to alleged
hit men employed by Tyson to kill drug
dealers who owed him money.
Last week a helicopter buzzed our place,
circled and hovered for a few seconds
with someone hanging out the door, holding
something in their hand. I thought it
might be a camera, but now I'm wondering.
Here is a little more:
None of the allegations led to criminal
charges, and it would soon become clear
why. Police officers who tried to mount a
case against Tyson were destroyed by their
superiors in the State Police.
The first to try was Beverly "B.J." Weaver,
then an undercover narcotics officer in
Springdale. Working the streets and bars
of northwest Arkansas, disguised as a
deaf woman, she collected detailed
intelligence on Tyson's alleged smuggling
network. . . .
"There were loads going out with the
chickens," she explained.
"They'd put the coke in the rectums of
the chickens, live chickens. That's how
they'd move it." . . .
As the allegations from her informants
mounted, she requested the intelligence
files on Don Tyson. That is when her
problems began. Her colleagues in the
Springdale office -- who she now believes
were "on the take" from the Tyson machine
-- put out the word that she was "not
stable," that she had "flipped out." Then
it got rough. "They started passing out
my photo on the streets, which put my
life in danger. I became paranoid. I didn't
trust my phone line. There was nobody
I could really trust." . . .
By 1987 her position was untenable.
Her career in ruins, she resigned from
the police and found a job as a security
guard in the Bahamas. .
And when the sheriff had me come into
the station to give my statement, they
arrested me and put me in jail for a
3-year-old warrant for a traffic violation
that didn't exist on the computer.
They insinuated that if I would not make
the statement I could leave and it would be
dropped. I had paid it of course, but my
trailer burned up with the receipt and they
knew it. They were laughing as I had to
cough up almost $1500 to get out. But
they had to take my statement. However,
the sheriff did come back, telling me he
made changes to it and put my initials
by the changes, since I could not, seeing
as I was in handcuffs at the time. I still
don't know what it was he changed. He
did not show me. He held up the paper
about 8-10' in front of my face, and I need
glasses to read.
Do you see what we are up against?
This is just part of what was there.
If you want the whole thing you can
research it yourself or drop me an
email. I'll be glad to forward it to you.
We will never change Tyson by changing
the law. Around here he owns the law.
They pay for a goodly part of the budget
of the Polk County sheriff's office so that
they can have a branch in Grannis for
"security reasons." Yeah, there are so-o-o
many break-ins down there.
We have to vote with our dollars, people.
Boycott Tyson if you do not want to
support such a thug.