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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.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
I have quit being surprised by the things I read about this industry's greed and cold disregard for anything but their bottom line. I have even started to become less surprised at what levels this government will stoop to to preserve the status quo and keep those campaign contributions flowing in. But, what I have a hard time understanding is the apathetic non-reaction -the "allowing-it-to-all-happen-without-a-peep-of-protest" behavior - that so much of society displays. You know the ones I'm talking about - the ones who say, in all seriousness, "Well, that's just the way things are."
Is the truth so hard to bear that people prefer denial, even at the cost of all we hold dear to us? Or are they just selfish and narrow-minded, a victim of the "me, me, me" kind of mindset taught by many to be the same as "healthy competition?" The old "don't care" and "I'm out for #1!" attitude. Are they truly that ignorant that they don't see that it is in their best interest to care?
Sadly, that seems to be the case. Most people are probably a little of all of those things. Well, here is another wake-up call for those people - and some more ammunition for those of you who already "get it" and are trying to help everyone else accomplish the same. Working together, we can make a difference! Even us little people that worked on a line somewhere. We all can, if we care - even just a little bit. And even if only about yourselves. I mean, after all, you do have to eat. Don't you want your food to be safe to eat?
If you eat factory-farmed meat, then it's not safe. Period.
The following letter is from a worker at the Vern's Moses Lake Meats plant that processed the cow that tested positive for BSE. Funny that he and the owner of the place both claim that this cow was not a "downer." Hmmm..... Surely the officials would not have lied to the public again, would they??? You decide...
Is the beef safe? Who knows?
My name is Dave and I work at Vern's Moses Lake Meats. I did until the day
the mad cow test results on the Sunny Dene cow came back positive for BSE.
That was Wednesday, Dec. 24. On Friday, Dec. 26, the KXLY news crew was at
the end of Vern's driveway, locked out by a cable gate. The USDA had told
the world that the mad cow had been slaughtered here, but it was not in the
food chain. A blatant lie. It was one of many.
I walked out the news crew at lunch time because I can't stand a government
cover-up. They asked me "was the cow in the food chain?" I told them of
course it was, it's meat. Where else would it be? They asked me if the cow
was a downer. I told them no, it was just an old cow.
The USDA had us taking brain stem samples from downers and back door
cripples only. Since we only had a few walkers on this trailer full of
downers, we just killed her along with them. We took a brain sample from her
head because the USDA gives up $10 per sample.
If we would have unloaded her in the pens, we would have never caught the
BSE. How many other walkers have BSE? We will never know. The USDA only
tested the downers and cripples and only at our plant. We had only been
taking brain samples for about a month when we found this one.
When the USDA said no more downers would be slaughtered, they essentially
said no more BSE testing would be done. Vern's and every other
slaughterhouse kept right on killing and selling Holstein meat from the same
area as the mad cow with no BSE testing whatsoever. This is true and easily
And just so the folks in Moses Lake don't feel left out, the beef head,
tongue, liver, kidneys and tail were sold right here in the Columbia Basin.
It's way past time for everybody to stop thinking with their bank accounts
and start trying to find a way to stop the spread of BSE.
The minute the USDA found the contaminated cow, they stopped the brain stem collection and testing. Why? Ka-ching! It's the money. Billions.
If you want to be sure you and your family are eating safe meat, demand
testing on every beef slaughter. It's quick and easy. Don't eat another
piece of meat until you see a sticker that says tested and cleared for BSE
on the package. BSE is 100 percent fatal -- if you or your kids get it, you
die a very painful death. It's a slow, wasting disease. It's terrible.
Right now, a lot of people are telling you how safe their beef is, but they
don't know if it is or is not without testing. That's their checkbook
talking. Tat rendering plant in Canada wasn't feeding 81 cows, it was
feeding thousands of cows.
Every second that goes by, more untested beef goes on the dinner plate. If
you eat mad cow, you are going to get sick and you are going to die. Stand
up and demand safe meat.
Good for you, Dave! I'm glad you spoke up. I hope that my story, and this one of yours, and all the others that have surfaced from people just like us, will continue to be heard by the public.
Although there are a lot of bad apples working in these places, not everyone that is doing this work is really such a bad person (certainly not unredeemable - my story proves that). Most of them just need jobs, and these jobs are extremely easy to get because of the undesirable, and downright horribly nasty and cruel, nature of the work. But, it gets harder and harder for the decent people who end up at these places to stay silent when they constantly see so many unsafe and illegal things going on. This is especially so when they see that the government will lie to the people to save the industry, thus resulting in a threat to public safety.
I hope that I continue to see such courageous people speak out. The more of us there are, the harder it will be for the industry to be able to counter our stories with their lies and propaganda.
Perhaps we can even get this government to represent the people again, instead of just the interests of corporate America and their short-sighted business practices that have little benefit (but plenty of ultimate and inevitable long-term harm) but increased profits for them and only made possible by our tax dollars.
Speak up, America! Speak up, citizens everywhere! Take back your country! Let's take back our world and make it into a peaceful, compassionate, and tolerant place, where all life is respected and valued.
Before it's too late.