<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

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, September 27, 2003

Tyson Torture Tactics - Culling the Runts 

First off, I need to mention something. I
wrote before about an issue over at Chief
Wiggles blog
(the US Intel Officer in Iraq).
I have put up 2 buttons here 1) to write
about the generals I described (very, very
important they be released), and 2) a toy
drive for Iraqi children (they also need
school supplies - his site explains what
some of the appropriate items are). Please
click on the buttons for more info. This
is a worthy cause that will bring joy and
goodwill to some very deserving Iraqis.

Now, we will switch gears and get down
to another serious problem a little closer
to home. "Culling the runts" should be
fairly self-explanatory. It is simply the
process of killing the chickens that did
not develop properly, and are smaller
and not desirable for meat.

There is a myriad of reasons why they
don't grow as fast as the other chickens.
Some have medical problems and would
have probably died anyway, but a lot of
them just don't react to the growth
hormones the way the others do. They
simply look like what you would expect a
normal 9-week-old chicken to look like.
I snuck a few out of there once and took
them home to raise myself. They developed
into normal chickens given the normal
amount of time to develop.

Tyson had a policy of destroying them in
the hanging cage. They should have been
euthanized humanely before they were sent
over to be ground up into chicken feed, but
they were anything but humanely euthanized.

Standard policy was to just throw them in
the dumpster alive. This is the same one
that the DOAs went in. Several times a night
a forklift would come by and pick it up and
set down a new one. The ones they carried
away went to the augur where the chickens
were ground up, the runts being ground alive.

This wasn't enough for some of the workers
around there. They had to get a little more
creative about it. One of the things they did
was to take a step back off the line with one
and chunk it into the exhaust fans over our
heads. The exhaust fan would pulverize it
and sling it back as a mush into the person's
face who was standing directly below it.
(Ha ha ha! Real funny, huh? Sick.) This was
fun since it would totally freak out a new person
who is standing there on the line, trying to hang
their chickens and suddenly gets a face full of
blood, guts, feathers, and shit.

Another thing I have seen them do to them is
to throw them against the wall as hard as they
could. It would leave a big bloody smear on the
wall. I fail to see how this is amusing, but it
seemed to give them a real thrill, anyway.

The third, and last, way that they would cull
a runt was also the most common. They simply
pulled its head off and threw it on the floor to
watch it flop. Sadly enough, this was probably
the most humane way, but still a bit sick for
the reason behind it. It wasn't that they were
trying to be humane, they just wanted to watch
it flop and sling blood everywhere. It was
especially common for them to do it and throw
the chicken behind a new person. The bird would
flop up and bounce against the backs of their legs.
They would turn around and look and see a head-
less bird flopping around, spraying blood all over
them. I think this would be quite an upsetting
thing to happen to anybody, but especially some-
body who had never been in the hanging cage
before. It was always great fun to mess with
the new people. What can they do?

There would be several hundred runts a night,
and management didn't care, since they were
to be culled anyway.
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