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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.
Monday, October 06, 2003
at the plant, how I could be in the military
and kill so many people (I don't even know
for sure how many) and it bother me to
kill chickens and not people? I thought I
would address that issue today because it
is a valid point that deserves discussion.
Well, the only way I know how to explain it
is to tell you a little story.
Shortly after my 19th birthday, we were
deployed to a S. American country to back
up a DEA task force. I won't really go into
a whole lot of detail, but I will say that our
team was making the sweep in a joint DEA
and "indigenous force" task force.
I came face to face with a hostile party and,
for the first time in my life, I killed a man.
I don't remember what the man looked like.
I just remember seeing a muzzle flash and
it was over in the time it would take you to
blink your eyes. The thing I remember the
most about it was how scared I was.
The point is, those chickens aren't shooting
back. They're not doing anything but trying,
maybe, to get away. Yet what I was expected
to do every night as part of my job inflicted
far more pain and suffering on those chickens
than I did on a man that was trying to kill me.
The 1st situation is a "do-or-die" self-defense
situation and the 2nd is not.
To me, that just didn't make any sense. To
torture something that isn't even capable of
hurting you. I know what it is to be afraid and
I know what it is to be badly hurt. I have been
shot, had a phosphorus grenade go off close
enough that I was burned by it, cut my leg
almost off with a chainsaw, done quite a bit of
hand to hand combat fighting, etc., so I know
very well what it is to feel pain. I have also
seen many people suffer and die, but the main
difference in the two situations is that all of us
people made the conscious choice to be in that
dangerous situation. We were there because
we wanted to be and had volunteered.
The chickens didn't make that choice. Therefore,
it is not the same thing at all. You can tell by
looking at them. You can see it in their eyes.
They are afraid and they feel pain.
There are some that try to say otherwise - that
they don't know and are unaware of the fact
that they are about to die. I say bullshit. They
do know. I've seen it in their eyes.
I have seen them before they go through the
killing machine. There would be a gap in the
line of 5-10 shackles, so that one bird could look
down the line a bit and see the one in front
of it go through the killing machine. When it
did, it would just go crazy. That made it
pretty obvious to me that it knew that the
other one got killed and it was about to die too.
When that happened, I would have to grab it
and do my best to be quick and efficient. I
figured it was at least more humane that it
being scalded to death.
So you see, it is not really the same thing.
Not at all. Nobody deserves to die and I lost
my best friend down there, so I am not taking
anything away from anyone there. But we all
chose to be there as did the people on the
other side that proved a threat to my country.
That was bad, very, very bad.
There is a small side-note to this story that I
absolutely refuse to talk about at length except
to say that I also know what it is to see innocent
people die and suffer. That was worse. It's
always worse when they're innocent.
The chickens are innocent, too. They didn't ask
to even be born, much less be where they were.
There was never a night that went by that they
were just killed. Somebody always had to bash
one. The killer never managed to catch them
all. There was so much suffering all concentrated
into one place. You ought to feel the energy in
that place. Most people just can't stand to go in
there. It has an overwhelming feeling of wrongness
to it. The worst thing was it was unnecessary.
I felt it to be strange that the people asking me this
question were not seeing something wrong with it.
I figured that the fact that a blooded combat veteran
and experienced hunter was so upset by his
experiences in a chicken slaughter plant felt it
necessary to tell the world would kind of speak
for itself. It was definitely a haunting experience.
Any more questions?