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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.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
So much cruelty and so little time to spend stopping it. Sad, but true.
The latest thing that has been bugging me the most, though, is the deer killings up in Akron, Ohio. You heard about these yet? It's despicable. Let me just go ahead and show you what has arrived in my inbox on this issue so that we are on the same page here:
I guess I should be used to it by now - the corruption of public officials - but I'm not - I'm pissed. Yesterday I met with Ray Dixon, Chief Ranger for Akron's Metro Parks. I asked for the return of our undercover surveillance equipment taken by Metro Parks rangers to keep us from getting the truth out about the murder of deer in Akron. Dixon refused to return our equipment, although he could not state that any rule or law that was broken by our undercover video operation.
It must have been a hilarious sight a couple days ago. Imagine a bunch of tree police running around the Metro Parks, climbing every hill and crawling through every valley, checking under every rock and behind every tree for a dreaded camera that might expose them as the animal abusers they are. Imagine as they began finding one camera after another, wondering if the rising number of cameras would ever stop. The tree police grabbed eight of our cameras, while we retrieved the rest. They seized well over $5,000 worth of equipment, which they now refuse to return.
With the video operation over, we contacted Akron/Cleveland media. At this point two television stations have covered the story numerous times, and two newspapers should have a story today. Predictably, Metro Parks spokespeople are claiming that all the deer were instantly killed, the truth be damned. Metro Parks also denies any abuse to their victims. That's something to focus in on for one moment.
The footage of what happened will soon be on a website for everyone to see. It shows beautiful, innocent deer drawn to baited sites. The animals are not afraid of the killers. In fact, the killers have been feeding the deer to train them to come to the slaughter, so now the deer actually react with joyful anticipation when the killers arrive.
In return for the trust of the deer, the murderers of Metro Parks and White Buffalo, the serial animal killers contracted for the slaughter, blast their victims one after the other. The deer in most cases stand there in confusion long enough for the killers to plug a number of them. But as utterly disgusting as this is, it gets even worse. Our footage shows numerous deer that continue to move after being shot. This movement continues not just for seconds, but for some minutes, until the deer is removed from camera view.
There is one particular deer that will be the litmus test for integrity, honesty and dignity in Akron. The victim is one of three deer shot. The deer went down when shot, but continued to struggle for life. Instead of shooting the deer again, the killers allowed the animal to writhe in pain, and the struggling increased as four members of the killing team approached the victim.
A minute and a half after the deer was shot, as the deer continues to struggle, one of the killers grabs the deer by an ear, pulls her head up, and puts a plastic bag over her head. He then tightens the bag around her neck. Understandably the deer begins to struggle more. At two and a half minutes after being shot, another killer grabs the deer by the hind leg, and she goes ballistic. His reaction is to retighten the bag around her neck. Then, with the deer still moving, the killer grabs her by the neck and pulls her out of camera view.
Last night, television news stations interviewed a wimpy Metro Parks spokesperson named Mike Johnson who claimed that all deer shot were killed instantly. He said, "We are following our sharpshooting program to the letter. I saw nothing disturbing." In response, a SHARK investigator remarked, "I wonder what it takes to disturb an animal abuser."
It must be mentioned that the footage of the deer is so disturbing that both television stations have refused to show it in its entirety, and have said so in their reports. The television crews included present and former hunters, all of whom were appalled and outraged at what they saw, recognizing the treatment of the deer as incompetent, unethical and totally unacceptable. So it is interesting that Metro Parks and its wimp spokesperson Mike Johnson see "nothing disturbing." It says a lot about their character -- or the lack thereof. And it proves yet again that those willing to abuse an animal will be willing to lie about it.
And where is Anthony DeNicolla and his White Buffalo in all of this controversy? Nowhere that we can find. They continue to murder their victims in secrecy, for a price, knowing that the last thing they want to do it tangle with us. Well, we will tell them here and now that they will tangle with us again, and again, and again.
Where are we now? Ranger Dixon told me that local prosecutors are trying to find a way to press charges against me. Interestingly, when SHARK investigator Pat Vinet called the Summit County prosecutor's office and spoke to County Prosecutor Douglass J. Pouley, he told her he knew nothing about the matter and planned on having no involvement whatsoever. Imagine that - we were apparently lied to by the Metro Parks! Who woulda thunk it?
I must say that most people we talked to love the deer. It seems to be mainly the "authorities" who have a lust for innocent blood. The deer are not starving. They are fat and healthy. The parks are also healthy and beautiful, save for the merciless killers running around and stinking the place up.
In closing, I am asking that you contact the Akron mayor and city council again and demand that they stop this slaughter, and begin an investigation into the deer kill program and the conduct of those involved.
Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic
Suite 200 Municipal Building
166 South High Street
Akron, Ohio 44308
Email: Mayor@ci.akron.oh.us (your postal address is required for a response from the mayor)
166 South High Street - Room 301
Akron, OH 44308
There's more, but that is the gist of it. They did send me another email letting me know that their new site on this issue was up - AkronDeerTorture.com - where they have some of the video up. now. They also told of one deer that was found that had been shot, left for dead, and then ravaged by coyotes. Pretty bad situation, if you ask me.
I have been noticing lately more of a trend toward caring about animals by a larger segment of the public. This is a good thing. Usually activists like me (and maybe you) only hear about the bad news. I gave you a small dose of that on a recent post, sharing just a few of the worst abuses I read about.
I also have come across a few activists lately that have been getting a bit disheartened, teetering on burn-out, wondering if all this effort is worth it, and if we are really accomplishing anything at all. I told them that we were, even if it sometimes doesn't feel like it.
One of these people runs a sanctuary for pigs. They have adopted 7 pigs to add to the rescued potbellies they were normally focusing on. People have wondered why, when 7 is only a drop in the bucket. Well, to those 7 pigs, it made a huge difference, I'm sure. Also, the person told me that these pigs serve as ambassadors to the public, showing them what pigs are like in their natural surroundings, as opposed to being confined to a factory farm. That definitely makes a difference, too.
Every small thing we accomplish makes a difference. Every person we get to crack open their mind is a wonderful accomplishment. Every person that changes their life to respecting the right of animals will also be having a positive influence on the attitudes of others. Kind of like a snowball effect. It's the natural next step in our evolution process.
We don't need to exploit animals for our survival anymore, so why should we?
And I don't want to hear any more of, "Well, that's just the way things are. That's the way they always have been."
That's a cop-out. A big one. What if our society had said the same about slavery, civil rights, womens' rights? If we do not progress, we stagnate. Without positive change, we are stuck in a rut. We can do better, so it follows that we should do better. It's really that simple.
Let me share one piece of good news with you that came in my inbox this morning. Apparently, a city over in Italy has passed an animal rights bylaw. Check the story out here.
See, good things are happening. We just hear more about the bad.
If you are a fellow activist, don't get discouraged. I, of all people, know how easy it is to start feeling that way. But then, when I seem to get the most down, I receive an email from a reader thanking me for speaking up, offering their support, and/or telling me how much my words have changed their life. Then I get inspired all over again to keep right on fighting.
Did you know that their is a band that has made a cd lately that wrote a whole song caled, "Why Vegan?" They tell you why. Their name is Beloved Binge. Check them out. They sent me a copy of their cd. The music was quite a bit different than what I am used to (growing up with nothing but country and later a little classic rock thrown in), but, surprisingly to me, I actually did like some of it. And, hey, they even donate a percentage of their profits to a good cause. They are great people doing great things.
Change is happening, even if it's only lots of "little" changes in lots of "little" people's lives. But, it's not. Some of them are big changes happening to "big" people, too. As Bob Dylan used to sing, "The times, they are a-changin'."
Things didn't get this bad overnight, and they won't get better overnight, either. I've had to realize this myself. I can understand the frustration that has driven some of those in the movement to take direct action. (**DISCLAIMER**Before anyone starts wanting to send me a hate-mail, or any of the law enforcement people decide to start tapping my phone or intercepting my email, calling me a "terrorist," I said I understand it. I am neither condoning nor condemning any illegal activities. I am staying out of that discussion as it is not something that I am involved with. I just spread the news, not make it. Ok? Ok.)
Take heart, people. The world is changing for the better. We may hear about more horrific things happening in all corners of the globe, but did you ever stop to consider that these things have gone on for a very long time, even if we never heard about them? With the Internet connecting people everywhere, it is much harder for things like this to go unreported.
The world has not necessarily gotten that much meaner. There are still plenty of good people left in it. Aren't you one of them? I certainly hope so. And, what about your friends and family?
Do you do your best every day to try to make the choices that will make this a better world?
And, if not, then why not? If so, then good for you! Glad to have you on my side. And, ultimately, on the side of us all, even those who don't want to listen. We are making it a better world for them, too.
We are all making a difference in this world, even if all we do is to choose not to eat the carcass of a dead animal today. That's one more animal that didn't die for nothing in a horrible way after a horrible life. Isn't that, in fact, making a difference?
One of the people I correspond with a lot in my group has an interesting statistic in her signature:
A mere 10% reduction in meat consumption by Americans would free up enough land to grow 12 million tons of grain – enough to save the 20 million people who starve to death on our planet each year.
Are you part of that 10% reduction? And, if not, then why not?
Each of us does have the power to change the world. It's up to us whether that power will be used to better it or worsen it.
I sure hope you make the right choices in your life today. Even if it is only for a day, you have done something. Then you can maybe start thinking about how much more you can easily do. It's really not so hard.