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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.
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
different methods of torture that were
performed by specific individuals on a regular
basis for amusement and/or sport.
This post is about "shit fights."
I would say that the individuals participating
in these events considered it a sport. It was
an ugly little game that ended up seriously
injuring and/or killing a lot of chickens in a
Since it was a pretty involved and time-
consuming endeavor, it was usually practiced
in the times when we were broken down and
weren't going to be running for at least an hour
or so. For this reason, upper management
cannot claim that they didn't know about it.
A breakdown that would stop a line would
draw all the supervisors, superintendents, and
maintenance people in the plant at the time.
They just chose to ignore it instead of
addressing the problem.
The way this was played out was to try to get
as much shit on your opponent as you could.
The way you did that was to grab up a chicken
and hold it in the palm of one hand, aim it in
the general direction of your target, and then,
with the fist of your other hand, hit the chicken
in the small of the back just below where the
wings hinge to the backbone as hard as you
can. This will squirt shit across the room for
about 4-5 ft. It will also squirt blood out of
the chicken's mouth and rectum. I have seen
it actually split one's belly open with its guts
running out between the guy's fingers.
Some chickens wouldn't squirt on the first hit,
so they would hit them a couple of more times.
Since a chicken was only good for 1 squirt
anyway, the idea was to grab 1, squirt it, then
grab another one as fast as you could to squirt
your opponent. Sometimes there would be
3 or 4 guys involved at once, although I have
seen as many as 5. It would go on for 10-15
minutes - however long they could last until
their arms got tired or until someone got so
much shit on him that he backed out. That
was considered a loss - the idea being to be
the last man standing.
Often before the game would begin, each of
the participants would ante up a dollar or two.
Then the last man standing would take the
pot. Naturally, when this occurred, there
was more of a desire to win, so the little "game"
would usually go on longer.
Most of the time this doesn't kill the chicken
right away. Therefore, the supervisors really
didn't see anything wrong with it because
they didn't realize exactly how much damage
was being done (or chose not to care). The
chicken was runnable and could be passed
on to the next department anyway.
The problem with this is pretty obvious. The
chicken is not dead, but I couldn't imagine
how much pain it must be in, considering its
back was broken, and more than likely most
of its ribs. But, it was still runnable.
I did tell a supervisor at the time by the name
of Rick Hall. He told me that if they weren't
squirting shit on me, then don't worry about
it. I ended up getting physical with one guy
that was doing it and got written up for it.
I was told that if I put my hands on another
employee, I would be fired. So, there wasn't
much I could do to stop it. No one cared.
This particular "sport" was not practiced as
frequently as some of the other forms of
unnecessary regular torture, but it was one
of the more brutal ones. And it steadily
reoccurred the entire time I worked there.
This happened about once or twice a month,
whenever we broke down. But the fact that
it happened at all is what is intolerable.
Tune in tomorrow for another installment.