<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Friday, October 03, 2003

The Slaughter Must Go On - Production at Any Cost 

Back around spring of '98 there was a
tornado that hit the plant while we were
made to keep on working. We worked
all the way through it and only shut down
after the electricity went out. It tore the
roof off the shop and destroyed about a
half dozen cars by the maintenance shop.
It ripped holes in our roof, but didn't tear
it off.

I realize that tornadoes come up awful fast,
but we had been under a warning before I
left for work. There is no way they can say
they didn't know something was about to
happen. We should have never starting
hanging. It was hailing, trees were being
blown almost over, and there had been a
tornado seen headed that way. Even with
just the heavy hail, everybody had damage
to their cars, and people on their way to
work had to pull over and wait it out. One
guy had to sit there and watch it beat his
windshield out.

I don't know how many chickens were killed
by it. There was a truck wreck, and most
of those chickens died. Other trucks just
pulled over to the side of the road, where
the chickens were beaten, some to death,
by the hailstones hitting them in the cages.

We had the line full from the 1st hanger all
the way to front line, about 1800 birds.
Some of them were in the stunner and drowned.
The rest of them in the hanging cage just
hung upside down until they died. The power
never came back on and we never ran another
chicken that night.

I tried to take the chickens off the line, but was
told by our supervisor (Rick Hall at the time) not
to because the power could come back on at any
time. Evidently he had been told not to pull the
chickens off the line. It was also quite dangerous
in there with no lights because of the number of
obstacles, not to mention the tendency of the
stunner to hold a residual charge, especially if it
had a bad ground wire.

But then, the weather never was of much concern,
as were neither the safety of the workers, or the
treatment of the "pre-processed product." I have
already told of the people who have died in wrecks
from being forced to drive on icy roads. We lost a
whole catch crew one night. Trucks wrecked, killing
many chickens. Many froze to death on the trucks
or were frozen to the cages and pulled apart when
unloaded. Nothing must stop production - nothing!

Their were several people who were hurt by machinery
that someone failed to replace a safety guard on, or
that need one, but didn't have one. One woman got
her hand caught in the neck-breaking machine and
lost 2 1/2 of her fingers. It was always getting
clogged up and didn't clean itself out properly, so you
had to do it by hand.

There was a guy that got his hand in a skinner in
debone one time. It rips the skin off of chicken thighs
and drumsticks to be deboned. It mangled his hand
bad enough that he couldn't use it anymore. Don't
know where the skin went. It just disappeared into
the chicken that went in to become nuggets. I guess
someone ate it long ago.

I got my smock tangled up in the drive chain of our
hanging belt one time. Luckily for me, I carried a
pretty sharp pocketknife. I whipped it out and cut
my smock loose before it pulled me into the gears.
I still got into trouble for missing shackles and they
charged me $15 for the smock I cut up.

This is a cold-blooded industry driven by greed and
profits at any and all cost. Cost to the workers,
taxpayers, health of consumers, the environment,
even our very humanity. We all pay the price. It
just costs some people more than others. It costs
some their very lives.
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