<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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, June 11, 2004

So, What's Happening at Tyson Lately? 

I often get asked by people whether or not I think much has changed at that Tyson plant in Grannis that I worked at. I have told a few things here and there that I hear from a few people still down there. They have cleaned out quite a few of the people I worked with on back dock, but I still hear things from time to time. Some of the folks down there still do tell me a few things, despite the fact that they have been threatened with their jobs if they are seen even talking to me. Seems like a violation of free speech to me. Can a company really fire you just for speaking to someone? Probably not legally, but then when has the fact that something was illegal ever stopped Tyson in the past? Since I have been paying attention, it seems that their name is in the news somewhere all the time for something horrible. It's always accompanied by that lame comment, "We categorically deny these ridiculous charges and will vigorously defend these charges in court."

And they do. They bring in those high-paid slimy spokesmen and their slimier lawyers and go to work They put on the face of outrage and call up people to get some kind of an article printed favorable to their side of the situation, perhaps do some good deed somewhere in some little community to get some good PR, etc. You know how it goes.

Kind of like they did when I came out. Well, they added the attempted character assassination, which everyone has now seen to be a total failure and fabrication. Shows who was telling the truth. They never did even try to prove none of that stuff happened, you know. They couldn't because it was true, and they knew it was true. And it wasn't pretty. They didn't like it one bit. Made them good and mad, you see. Made them look bad, like they didn't care. Cold and cruel and greedy. Which they are.

But, I'm getting a bit offtrack now, aren't I? I was going to tell you the latest I hear from the happenings down at the plant.

I mentioned that there weren't many left on back dock that I worked with. I had already mentioned before that several of the guys that got lime poisoned were gone, along with some that were mentioned in the statement. Troy, the dry-ice-bomber, well, he no longer works back there with live animals at all. They stayed on him from the time he got to work until he left. He wouldn't ever be able to get away with that kind of stunt anymore. They were worried about any more stories like that getting out. Stuff like that. They were worried.

Well, it seems to have gone a big farther than that now, though. Remember Ed, the supervisor I implicated in so many embarrassing situations? Well, he's not on back dock anymore, from what I hear. And the day shift supervisor seems to have had a heart attack that many of the workers attribute to the extra pressure he was under after this whole story unfolded.

Especially that whole undercover video camera stunt when Paul got that footage he put up on the net for all to see. They got really mad about that one! Hired them some more security and installed some cameras. Watching... They don't want something like that happening again. How embarrassing! You can't refute something like that.

It also sounds like the inspectors are visiting the killing room more, too. If you remember, when the birds are not killed and are scalded to death in the tanks, they are contaminated by that water when it goes into their lungs. Anyway, those are supposed to be condemned. Those are the ones known as "redbirds." And, if they were to send those out as "Grade A inspected" meat for human consumption, they would be breaking the law. Those are supposed to be fed to animals only.

So, it sounds like there were a few minor changes. Not enough, of course. And it remains to be seen over time what kind of supervisor this new one will be. Hopefully she will be better than the last. But, I fear that since the main cruel corporate culprit, Richard Frasier, is still over all of it on nights, I highly doubt that much will change. He is the main reason behind the attitude problem down there. Until they get rid of him I figure the workers will continue to get shafted and the birds will continue to be more cruelly treated. He just doesn't care. He's also why they talk to me, probably. He just makes them furious, and rightly so. He made me that way, for sure. Not a very popular man, but I guess he must have the right numbers, because Tyson keeps him, even after all he has done. They even rush to his defense. $peak$ volume$ about what they care about, and it isn't worker$ and chicken$.

If Tyson really cared at all about cleaning up that plant they would definitely have to get rid of him. But, it seems like they are going to continue to play it down as "isolated" and "only a few individuals" and not really do much about it. They are just hoping it will all blow over eventually. Well, as long as that man is still there, workers will be frustrated and angry, speaking out anonymously or mistreating birds. So, we will still continue to hear sad stories coming from down there. It's a sad place.

You ought to feel the energy of it - you know, the "vibes." It always made Laura uncomfortable to even go into their parking lot. When we left, she would just have to shudder to throw off the funk of the place. The negativity is so concentrated there. You know what I'm talking about. I'm sure you have once gone somewhere that didn't "feel right."

But, I will continue to watch what happens (or doesn't happen) and talk to the supportive people when I run into them, at least the ones brave enough to come talk to me. There have been a few that have literally run away after seeing me. I'm glad that I'm not all beat down like that anymore, giving that much control over me and my life to the likes of Tyson.

Well, that's at least most of what I heard that was going on down there. I still have those that are quite mad at me, and I still have those that support what I'm doing. There have been a few minor changes, but it's still a hellhole. We'll continue watching this plant and see what happens together.

On a completely unrelated topic, check out this link a reader sent me:

Long, but very interesting...
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