<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

After the Storm 

During the winter of 2000-2001 we had a
bad ice storm. Knocked out the power for
weeks in some places, phones, lots of
trees down all over the place. This was the
same one that fell all the trees I got my lumber
from. The plant was shut down for 2 1/2 weeks
and was the longest shutdown in the history
of the plant. Before that, the longest was 1 1/2

The night we went back they said the plant was
ready. When we got down there, we found out
it was not ready. The heater wasn't working,
the hydraulic pump was frozen up (from disuse,
not from the cold) that drives the killing machine.
Also, the water was frozen in the line to the killing
machine. In the hanging room, our boots froze
to the floor and it never got above freezing in
there. We started up like this.

We ended up running about 400-500 birds
through the scalder before they got the line
stopped and thawed out the line to the killing
machine. After the 1st two trucks, which were
caught early in the evening, we got to seeing
2-3 dead birds on the belt for every live one
because they had frozen to death. You could
pick them up and feel the ice crunch inside of
them where the ice had frozen in their veins.

The temperature that night was, I believe, a
degree two below zero. It felt a lot worse
than that. Those chickens rode down the
highway in those metal cages on the trucks,
and you can bet it was a lot colder for them.

When we came back from 1st break, somebody
had had the bright idea to knock the ice off
the belt with a hot water hose because it was
clogging up around the gears of the drive drum
(what turns the belt). They left 2-3 inches of
water in some places on the belt and dumped
more chickens on the belt so that they would
be sitting there when we came back from break,
ready to hang.

In the 15-20 minutes it took us to come back
from break, the chickens standing in the water
had frozen to the belt. For a lot of them, we
had to chip the ice away from their feet to get
them off the belt until we could get those birds
run. The supervisor was screaming and cussing
at us to hurry up. (I don't know for a fact, but
I think he was the one that had the idea to
spray the belt to start with.)

A lot of the secondary roads were still icy.
Down these are the houses where the
chickens are getting caught. We had 2 trucks
slide off the road from 2 separate farms. They
weren't really wrecks, so they didn't kill the
chickens then. They just slid off the road into a
ditch, but it took the wrecker driver about
4 hours to get both of the trucks out. By
the time they got to the plant, nearly all the
chickens were dead - frozen to death.

I believe it was that night also that there
was a girl that had a wreck on the ice and
was killed. It was a Mexican girl from debone
with 2 kids and no husband (from what I
heard). I never even knew her name. I hold
Tyson responsible for her death.

Anyone just hurt by this type of thing is, of
course, not covered in any way by something
like workman's comp, and Tyson won't accept
responsibility for anything before you punch
that clock. This was brought up several times
because of the high number of people getting
hurt and killed in accidents. Tyson's policy is
that inclement weather is no excuse not to
be there - if the plant runs you are expected
to be there.

Just about every time Tyson runs when the
weather is bad like this, someone is hurt or
even killed. It is not uncommon at all. This is
on top of all the other accidents due to the
line being too fast and machinery not kept up.

The U.S. Labor Department says one of every
six poultry workers suffers a work-related injury
or illness every year. Crowding has even given
rise to a special injury, "neighbor cuts," when
workers inadvertently cut the person next to them
Found in Washington Post article.

I suggest you read that whole article. It is
basically an interview with a live-hanger with a
little background information thrown in. This is
not an isolated incident - it is widespread. How
long can they keep people believing their lies?

When will the public wake up and demand the
necessary changes? When will they finally care
enough? What is it going to take? If they can't
care about the animals, what about their fellow
citizens of this country? What about them and
their familes?

This industry is killing people as well as animals.
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