<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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 26, 2003

Setting Things Straight on "Inspections" 

I was corresponding with another activist
yesterday. I had been asked about how
effective an inspection of humane treatment
could be. Say, if Tyson were to bring a
USDA inspector to their plant to certify
them as being "humane" in their treatment
of the chickens.

Well, as I pointed out to him, there are a
number of problems associated with trying
to inspect the back dock hanging cage while
it is in operation. Regular readers might
remember that the hangers work in the dark
under a blacklight so as not to upset the
chickens and make it harder to hang them.
The black light is also shaded and of low
wattage so that it only shines on the belt
itself and not on the whole room.

Halfway across the room from the hanging
belt, you couldn't see your hand in front of
your face. Some of the accidents that have
happened back there prove that. People
run into other people and trip on stuff that
they couldn't see. There was a guy that
walked across the floor once and stuck his
toe in a 6.5' tall exhaust fan. Now, I am sure
he wouldn't have done that if he could have
seen the thing. Aren't you?

Now, either an inspector would have to
stand there in the dark, unable to see, or
he would have to turn on lights. Now, let's
think about this for a minute.

This work is done in the dark so as to not
upset the chickens. This only partially works,
but it helps. When light is shown into the
hanging cage, the chickens go wild and the
hangers get mad at whoever opened the door
and let the light in. Not only does this light
upset the chickens, but if a bunch jumped
off the belt in their excitement and you had
several thousand birds running around the
floor, the hangers would have to spend their
break catching them. This would make them
extremely upset, as you could imagine.

Therefore, usually the reaction to this door
being held open to let light in would be met
with yells and curses from the workers, then
followed quickly by chickens being thrown at
the person holding the door open. They
don't just toss them, either. They throw
them hard enough to splat against the wall,
so if they were to hit you, it would definitely
make you close that door, which is what they
want you to do. They will do whatever it takes
to get you to shut that door, even if one of
them has to walk off the line and push you
out of that doorway to close the door.

Now, suppose that Tyson did want to have
an inspector examine the hanging cage while
in operation. Obviously, even after they work
through the light vs. dark problem, they would
have to alert the workers as to who that was
standing there holding that door open. It
obviously would never do to have workers
chunking chickens at the inspector, would it?

It also would obviously not be good for the
company if the inspector was standing there
with all the lights on. Can you imagine what
it would look like to have 2000 panicked, crazed,
frightened, and fighting chickens everywhere,
with workers trying to hang them? That would
be total chaos and Tyson would complain that
the inspector was unnecessarily interrupting
the work schedule. This is not done without
a very good reason or he would lose his job.
I have seen inspectors get fired for that.

In fact, that is Tyson's favorite blanket charge
against any inspector that gives them problems.
It works well, too. These inspectors just aren't
allowed to do their jobs right. They try, but
the power of Tyson will always stand between
them and their job.

When I worked down there, if any type of VIP
was to be coming around, we all knew about it
hours, or even days or weeks ahead of time.
The last OSHA inspection that we had when I
was down there - we knew a week ahead of time
that they were coming.

The main thing is to remember that these little
inspections are all but meaningless. They are
mostly staged just so that the company can say
they have passed inspection. If they want to
monitor what goes on in that hanging cage,
they would have to have low-light cameras
mounted in front of and in back of the hangers.
Anything less is not an effective inspection.
They just can't see anything back there. And
if they shine light in there, they can't stand there
long enough to see much, a few seconds at most.

So, don't believe everything you read. And
certainly don't believe everything Tyson says.
We all know what big liars they are, anyway.
Ol' Ed Nicholson is their biggest liar, in fact
their Official Liar. Kind of reminds me of old
al-Sahaf, "There are no abused chickens here!
It's all AR infidel propaganda!"
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