<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Fats, Rats, and Cats 

Before I get into today's post, I just
had to bring these two articles to
everyone's attention. This is just too
good to let go by without at least a
little bit of a chuckle. Okay, maybe
it is worth a good belly laugh, even.
A bit of gloating and definitely an "I
told you so!" Ha ha ha!

You will no doubt notice the connection
between the two articles, even if KFC
doesn't want to admit it. I guess this
is just one more case of denial on the
part of the industry.

This first article talks about the fact
that the FTC is investigating KFC for
their deceptive advertising. It was
quite good, and also mentioned KFC's
announcement that, coincidentally,
they were "concluding this promotional
period" anyway, with new ads.

The second one goes a little farther
behind what is happening with the
investigation and says that KFC is
going to "discontinue the spots 'for
brand protection reasons.'

Whatever they say, it was a dumb
idea and an attempt to mislead the
public about the healthiness of their
fried chicken.

Now, on to what I wanted to talk
about today.

The Grannis chicken plant was the home
of some of the biggest, meanest rats I
believe I have ever seen in my life. I'm
sure everybody's heard about rats big
enough to whip a cat.

Well, I personally saw a really big one in
the parking lot one night run off a stray
beagle over a dead chicken that had fallen
off of one of the trucks. It was at least
as big as a full-grown house-cat, but not
quite as tall, only because rats don't have
legs as long as cats. But, its body was
the same size. It could probably have
gotten three of a man's fingers in its
mouth, it was so big.

Between the rats and the stray pets, the
problem had gotten so bad that the little
town of Grannis had started a pest control
program around the plant. They put out
these plastic traps with bait in them to
catch them. They looked kind of like giant
Combat roach traps or something and were
bolted to some source of plate to keep
them from being interfered with.

The idea is to lure the animal into the trap
where it eats some kind of a real fast-acting
poison that kills them and won't let them
back out of the trap. They checked them
once a day at the end of cleanup, just before
our shift started. (I don't know if this is still
going on or not, but it was when I left.)

It wasn't getting enough of them to really
make much of a dent in the population. We
were always having trouble with rats and
strays around there.

We had a mother cat have her kittens in the
main electrical exchange box. No one knew
until it was too late and it shorted out, cutting
the electricity off to back dock, the maintenance
shop, the ice room, front-line, and tote wash
(basically, the front half of the plant and the
maintenance shop where everything has to
be fixed at). It took the half the night to get
it all straightened out. Sadly, of course, it
fried those poor kittens and their mama.

I have seen rats drag cripples and DOAs across
the floor right behind us. I saw some of them
fighting as best they could, but the rats would
just drag them over in the corner and munch
down on them. Some of them were eaten alive.

There was a guy that worked down there that
was a speed freak. One night, we were all
sitting around the break room and there was
a rat over in the corner, behind the water
fountain. He took a crust of bread that I had
pulled off my sandwich because it had touched
the table, and put a little crystal meth on it and
threw it to the rat. It ate it and then came
running out of the corner, stood up on its hind
legs, looking mean at us. Then it ran over into
the hanging cage, jumped up onto the belt, and
bit the head right off of a chicken. When it
jumped back on the floor with the head in its
mouth, it flopped over and starting kicking,
and died.

The dude said he was "conducting an experiment
to see how good his crystal was." Evidently,
it was pretty good.

I did indeed see some really weird things in
my years working for Tyson. You just never
know what you are going to see happen in
a given night, and you learn not to be very
surprised by bizarre acts. I used to call it
"The Human Circus."

The problem was that the circus rarely
involved only humans. It could involve
almost anything a twisted mind could
come up with, especially one suffering
from boredom with the monotony that
goes with this kind of line job.

There was no shortage of twisted minds
down at that place.
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