<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

UPC Forum - What a BLAST!!!! 

Well, I'm back. Wow! What a weekend! Karen did an excellent job organizing the event and had a great selection of speakers on a range of topics. We had such a great time and met so many truly wonderful people, so many caring, selfless, dedicated people there that are so concerned about the plight of animals. How refreshing it was to be in the presence of these activists and be around other people that feel the same way that I do and talk with them face to face.

I enjoy meeting and discussing these issues with the many people I correspond with online each and every day, but it's just not quite the same thing as being there and talking with someone like that. As you can imagine, there just aren't too many folks around these parts who do think this way. So, it was an extremely enjoyable experience for me to be able to do that. I can't wait to do it again.

My talk seemed to go really well. Yeah, I was a bit nervous at first, but after a couple of minutes of being up there and talking to this great group of people, I just relaxed and started talking about my experiences and what I know and it all just seemed to roll right on out there. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, actually. I was able to get across some new information and help others understand more of what it is like to be working in one of those hellholes. If you have been reading this site from the beginning, then you know what I mean about how hard it is for some to really "get it."

I learned quite a bit myself, too. Listening to everyone speak and having the serious discussions with everyone has been very motivating as well. I think you will be seeing some really exciting progress in the near future from this movement. There were a lot of great ideas exchanged and points discussed that should really get more of this information out to the public.

Paul Shapiro from COK had some excellent footage and some great commercials that his group has put together and gotten in front of the public that are really making a difference. The footage that Sarahjane from GourmetCruelty.com got from the foie gras industry was excellent as well. She is getting that out in front of people, although she is paying the price for doing so. You just gotta respect people like her that are willing to put it all on the line to help the animals. I know I do.

I could go down the list and tell you wonderful things about each and every one of those people I talked to, but this post would end up more like a book by the time I got through. If you are into animal rights, then you already know who these people are for the most part, anyway. I don't have to make their names for them. Their efforts speak for themselves.

I have to tell you though, that, as wonderful as all these people are, I have to say that one of the things I got the best feeling from was meeting this great kid that was there. He was one of the most polite boys that I have ever met. He obviously has a really great mother. And, since I met her, I can say that I can tell that she really is a caring person. This kid gave me a feeling of hope for the next generation coming after us. The people like me, Paul Shapiro, Karen Davis, Bruce Friedrich, Jim Mason, Dr. Michael Gregor, etc. are building something that they will inherit and hopefully carry on in to the future so that one day our society does view these times in a different light.

I recently read an article that gave a prediction of a future where we look back at the days of killing and eating non-human animals as so horrific and barbaric that we are as shocked and disgusted about it as we are about slavery, abuse, and exploitation of our fellow humans. Wouldn't that be a wonderful world? A peaceful world where we aren't such a violent society?

That kid brought that hope out in me like no one else there. I could tell that he was going to grow up and be a wonderful man. One not afraid to care. One that doesn't think that there is anything at all wrong with respecting their fellow creatures and not harming them. One that didn't call his sons "sissies" for not being "tough enough" to kill an animal, like so many boys in my generation and previous ones have had done to them. A man that understands that it takes far more strength and courage to care than it does to bury those feelings and pretend not to care in order to "be a man."

I know that I have learned that myself. I used to think that people that couldn't handle the killing of animals to be weak, like most of the other men I grew up with and worked with. Our society does that to kids, and it's sad. It's so very wrong. Using shame to force our kids into committing violent acts and going against the compassionate nature that exists in all of us somewhere. Why do we feel that we have to do that?

We don't have to kill and eat animals to survive anymore like we did way back when. We have the choices today that didn't exist before. So many people are just making the wrong ones. And I don't really think it's because they don't care or they aren't good people. They are just uninformed people. There has become such a disconnect between the nicely-presented shrink-wrapped meat you buy in the store and the processes that actually get it there that most people not only don't know about it, but don't even think about it.

That's where people like me and you come in. We have got to get more of this information out there to the public so that they can see for themselves if this is something they can accept and support. I have yet to meet a person who wasn't horrified by pictures and footage of the factory farming industry. We just have to get those images out there more. We can let the animals speak for themselves. The information is out there. My stories are here and there, the pictures and videos that I and others have gotten are all over the net and in the media. It's happening more and more often all the time. People are waking up to the fact that this industry is the most horrible thing we as a society are allowing to continue.

It is killing our planet, polluting the land, air and water for every species on Earth, including ourselves. It causes so much pain and misery, so much exploitation of human and non-human animals. It is sucking up vast resources that can be better used in better ways. We have to change the way we are doing things as a society or we are going to suffer the consequences. Our children will suffer the consequences of our behavior.

I'll be talking more later on some other things that happened this past weekend and what our plans are that Laura and I intend to do. I do believe you will see a quite a bit more out of us and the movement as a whole. There are a lot of people coming forward with experience and knowledge that didn't exist before. Those firsthand accounts and stories that are so important and powerful for getting the message out there. I'm glad to be a part of that.

I'll also be speaking quite a bit more in the future. I had quite a few invitations from people there this weekend. I've got the Walk for Farm Animals in Nashville, TN on October 2nd that I will be participating in and speaking at. I have gotten a lot of advice and direction on how to go about writing the book I have been talking about. If you or your group would like me to come to an event and speak, just let me know. I would be glad to see what we can work out about that.

I will keep trying to get the pictures posted today. I am having a bit of trouble with that at the moment. The site doesn't want to load right, and I'm on another borrowed computer. Mine can't seem to find the modem for some damn reason. Anyway, if I don't get back to you for a few days that's why. I may have to take it in yet again. How annoying. And I'm already so far behind. Grrrr!!!!!

With all that said now, I'm going to just go back outside now and take a few more breaths of this clean air here. I missed my woods. It was a lot of fun, but it is good to be back here. I love this place. It feels good to be home.
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