<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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, June 21, 2005

The story behind the PETA employees dumping cats and dogs in a dumpster 

Before I start today's post, I am making one more plea for help to get Laura and me to the AR2005 conference. From my figuring, we have roughly 600 members at each group. If even just half of them gave but $5 that would cover the vast majority of it. Don't most of you waste/blow that much, or more, in a day??? Coffee, cokes, donuts, a night out drinking, etc.? Would it kill you or even be a major sacrifice to help just a little? This is not for personal gain. I am going out there to speak for the chickens AND the workers! And I am the ONLY one that can offer the perspective and knowledge I have - no one else can do it! PLEASE HELP ME HELP THEM! This is the last time I will ask. Now I will move on to today's post.

Many of you have read by now the damning article about the PETA employees being charged with felony counts of animal cruelty for dumping dogs and cats in a dumpster. But what you don't know is what is behind the story. I contacted Bruce Friedrich, whom you all know is a good personal friend of mine who gave me a much fuller story as to what the situation really is, complete with pictures of what PETA has done to alleviate suffering.These linked are just a few - the rest are on today's photo page. **WARNING - some are graphic!**

Before I jump in with what they have to say about the matter, let me give you a couple of personal stories that show you exactly what happens in these poor rural counties that have no shelter or, if they do, how they can hardly justify themselves as one. Not because the people running them don't care, but because there is just no funding to help them from the community at large. They are too busy buying their dogs from backyard breeders or answering the "free to good home" ads in the paper. And, btw, "free to good home" doesn't always mean that, as many of the people who answer those ads use those innocent puppies to train their fighting pit bulls with them - puppies and kittens alike.

I have talked before about the fact that the county I live in, Montgomery County, AR, has NO shelter at all. There is nothing more than a loose group of caring people like us who do their level best to help the ones they find. They are known as "Warm Hearts") really just a couple of women), but are extremely limited in what they can do. They take the ones they can in, find foster (rarely "forever homes") homes for them, spay/neuter them, vaccinate them, and generally do their best to help, and they generally do most of this at their own expense. Or, at least they did, until they lost the grant money that helped make that happen. Most of the community has never even heard of them, much less made a donation to them. But there are far too few of us to handle the load. You have seen just a few of the rescues that have come our way just since this blog was started. They go nowhere near the number that have been saved before this blog started. If yo want to help Warm Hearts and help keep up this service, their number is 870-334-2886, and the lady that coordinates all of this is named Maxine Goldman, though I have also a number of a person offering a foster home for animals (though she can only handle THREE, whereas we have EIGHT dogs and FOUR cats and a bunch of chickens, yet we STILL take in whomever shows up!) who can be reached at 870-867-5222 if you cannot get Maxine. They would greatly welcome any help offered and are in dire need of it because, as of now, there are now no more mobile spay/neuter clinics now that they have lost their "Bob Barker grant" for the terrible reason of offering this service to small dogs and cats, as opposed to restricting it to large dogs. These were the same people who neutered two of our cats. They only offered this service twice a year, which resulted in us having the 20 puppies (you might remember this story being told way back in this blog, and we even still have one of the dogs. His name is Junior, and we love him very much! But we can't vouch for what sort of homes the rest of them went to. We do know that one of the females now wears a bark collar, though, and that has eaten us up with guilt, along with the fact that this guy showed back up wanting to breed her with the daddy of these dogs, who broke off the fence post restraining him from getting to them and hwy the puppies were born in the first place, besides our financial inability to pay a vet to get them spayed.) we had to raise as we could not make that deadline, even though our appointment was made long before the dogs came into heat. You want to know who spayed both of those dogs before it happened again? PETA did. They made arrangements with our local veterinarian and paid the bill to make sure the same sad situation did not repeat itself! PETA did that, not anyone else.

My first personal story began when I was just a kid. I grew up in a county with no shelter, just like there were no shelters in the surrounding counties. The answer to stray dogs or problem dogs was a shot to the back of the head with a .22 magnum pistol. And, yes, I did this, although I tried to make it as humane as possible, never even letting them see the gun I used to end their pain. I would walk up to them, pet them talk softly and lovingly, then pull the gun out of the back of my pants, sneak it up behind them, and then pull the trigger. They never knew what happened, though it made me sick and sad every single time I had to do it. But I was unaware of any other option. I didn't even know that you could take a dog into a veterinarian to have them put to sleep, even if we had had the money to do so, which we didn't. I did this to five different dogs. I can remember every single one, so haunted I am by the fact that I had to do it. As far as I knew then, it was the most humane way to handle the problem. Two had rabies, and the other three had been so mangled by being hit by a car that they never would have made it anyway. So, I put them out of their misery the only way I knew how.

The second personal story I will let Laura tell., because she is the one who lived it:

I have always loved animals and sought what I could do to help them, from taking in strays (my first at the age of nine!) to the summer I spent as a teenager working as a volunteer in a no-kill shelter called Adopt-A-Pet in Shreveport, LA. We were overfull, according to the health codes, but people kept dropping off animals when we were closed. There was no fence around the place, just a small brick building, and there was a small yard with a doghouse out front for the inevitable drop-offs we couldn't stop so that they would be safe and sound until we showed up for work the next day. I can remember one day when we all arrived for work and found a whole litter of puppies so infected with mange that we didn't know if we could save them or not. But we tried. One of them we called Bozo, because the only hair he had left was on his ears - he was completely bald everywhere else. And, miraculously he made it, whereas most of the rest did not because they were too far gone. We also had a whole three-ring binder, you know - one of those kinds that is a 3-subject notebook - that held the names and numbers of people wanting to give us unwanted animals. We never in all the summer I worked there called any of those people back because we never had enough room to take them in. I guess the main reason we even kept it was on the off chance that someone would call looking for a specific type of animal to adopt that we did not have at the shelter. But that shelter was so full that we had to put cats and kitten in cages with others. Many of them were sick, but not so bad that they needed a vet. The only two I remember being that sick we actually did have to put down. I held them both, talking to them lovingly and stroking them, talking softly - little black kittens - until I felt the last heartbeat and I knew it was all over.

We did out best not only to feed and water them and keep their wire cages clean, but to also spend a few minutes every day giving them love. A couple of the animals there had worked their way into our hearts so much that they were allowed full roam of the place, especially if they had been there a long time. We got calls for us to take in animals every day, but only twice do I remember someone showing up to adopt one of them. Sadly, that shelter was closed down shortly after I left due to health code violations due the the number of animals there. It was something like 35 that we were allowed to have, and we had over twice that many, even though they were well-cared for, well-fed, clean and loved. I have always wondered what happened to them and figure that they probably went to the pound, where they were euthanized. Once we even saved one from the pound, smuggled him out with the help of a caring employee that hated seeing highly adoptable animals put to sleep. This one was a white poodle, and it was made clear to me that if anyone found out we had done this, not only would this caring man lose his job, but we would all be in trouble, too. We had to sneak in and out like criminals to save this one dog, but we did it. And I would do it again. That one went straight to a home after we removed all identification that labeled him as a pound animal.

There are two shelters in Polk County, the one adjoining our county and one that has a little more money than ours does. Even there, though, the shelters suffer. Not long ago you may remember a dog that showed up that we were unable to find a home for or properly care for. We took him to For Sake of Animals, the no-kill shelter, but they had no room. We even offered to take the two most unadoptable cats in the place, but still they wouldn't take him. They were just too full, and we were turned away. Then we headed to the Humane Society, which is only open a few days a week and is surrounded by a tall fence and monitored by a camera, with a sign saying that anyone caught dumping dogs there would be subject to a crime and caught and punished accordingly. We never even found anyone to talk to, much less had the ability to ask them to take him. it wasn't long after that when we read in the paper that they had turned into a kill shelter, creating much division among the volunteers there, a lot of hurt feelings, and I am sure, much crying as to the fate of the dogs entrusted to them to find good homes for.

Oh, and btw, the people over in that county have lot the funding they were using to spay/neuter just like our county did for the same reason, as they shared the same source of funding to accomplish this much-needed work, so the problem will only grow. In fat we found yet another shot dog down at the river just last week. If you want to help, their info is as follows:

Compassionate Animal Spay/Neuter Program
P.O. Box 195, Mena, AR 71953
(479) 394-4656
They are a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Public Charity, with 100% money going to the animals.
They work with the Ouachita Humane Society, and the woman I talked to is named Arleen S. Wiley, Director, email address is arkiearleene@sbcglobal.net (hope that's right - her writing is hard to read, but the phone number is correct) They DESPERATELY need help! Anyone who can help them and the program in our own county, PLEASE DO SO! Prevent the suffering!

But other than the few of us that take these animals in (which is NEVER enough!) what choice is there, other than euthanasia, when otherwise even the most highly adoptable dogs are not taken in and people keep not spaying/neutering, buying from backyard breeders and pet stores? There is just no choice. No choice! We have seen this with our own eyes. Many of those dogs in the no-kill shelter that Laura worked at were highly adoptable, even cute little kittens, yet no one came to get them. They were forced to live their lives inside a metal wire cage for months, and some even years, at a time. What kind of life is that, I ask you? None. Dogs and cats need more than food and water. They need love and companionship. They need freedom to run and exercise, not locked up in prison-like conditions. No, euthanasia is not great, in fact it is terrible and a blight on our society, but what else is there to do when the animals come in faster than you can find homes for them???

This is a problem that humans have created, are responsible for, and must solve themselves by their own actions. This is truly one of those situation that if you are NOT part of the solution, then you ARE part of the problem.

I pasted the official statement from PETA on the photo page, but here it is again, along with a transcript of the press conference they held to bring this situation to light: I only hope that it gives you a better understanding of what the real situation is.

It is against PETA’s policy to put the bodies of animals in dumpsters, and we are appalled that a member of our staff apparently did that. There is no excuse for that and, despite the fact that she is a caring soul, we have suspended her from work.
PETA has always supported and spoken openly about euthanasia. It is easy to throw stones at those doing the dirty work for society, but euthanasia is a necessary evil until the massive animal overpopulation problem can be solved. We invite anyone who can offer a home to any animal, pay for one or a hundred spay/neuter surgeries, or persuade others not to go to a pet shop or breeder, to please join us in doing these things. In the last year, we have spayed/neutered more than 7,600 dogs and cats, including feral animals, many free of charge and all others at well below our own costs. Support for this program is much needed.

To clarify, we do not run an adoption facility, although we do place animals, approximately 360 in the last year, despite having run out of friends and family members to approach. We are a "shelter of last resort," taking in and giving a painless death in loving arms to animals who would otherwise have been shot with a .22 or gassed in a windowless metal box, which is what happened in North Carolina before PETA offered free euthanasia services to agencies there. North Carolina has the second highest rate per capita of euthanasia in the country—35 animals killed annually for every 1,000 residents—and most do not die a humane death. Sadly, the shelters we work with have no adoption programs or hours set aside for adoption. At the Bertie County dog shelter, residents were throwing unwanted dogs over an 8-foot-high fence, where they became infected or injured by other sick or aggressive dogs from whom they could not escape. Bertie County also had no facility for cats and used to let them go to breed in the woods and fend for themselves until PETA built a shelter for them this year. PETA has begged for years, through formal proposals and numerous meetings, to have the county allow PETA to implement an adoption program as part of a larger picture of sheltering that would also include a spay/neuter program, a humane education program, 24/7 emergency services, and rabies clinics. For more information on our efforts, please visit http://www.helpinganimals.com/f-nc.asp.

We try never to take in adoptable animals unless we know we have a home for them—only those who are mange-covered, have parvovirus, are injured, old, unsocialized from life on a chain, or unwanted and for whom there are no good homes available. We also work at the roots, spending more than $240,000 in one North Carolina county alone, to provide shelter in winter for animals left out in the cold, to spay/neuter, to get vet care for animals in dire straits, to send Bertie County’s one animal control officer to professional training, to pay a cleaner to maintain two shelters, and much more.

We have always outspokenly advocated fixing the problems of overpopulation through practical methods. Sadly, those stories don’t get coverage in the media.
We urge you to look closer and do your part to help us help these animals. For information and resources on how to do that, visit HelpingAnimals.com

The PETA Staff

June 17, 2005
Daphna Nachminovitch

Since the news from North Carolina, we have received countless enquiries. The two most pressing are "why is PETA in North Carolina?" and "why do you euthanize animals?" We would like the opportunity to answer these two questions. We will take your additional questions at the end. First, let me explain why we started going to North Carolina.

My name is Daphna Nachminovitch, and I oversee PETA's Domestic Animal and Wildlife Department, including our Community Animal Project and our spay clinic, SNIP
Let me give you some background as to how and why we started working in North Carolina. In 2000, PETA was contacted by a police officer who was distressed by conditions in the county pound. We were given photographs which showed one dog drowning in a pool of water, too sick and weak to lift her head, a starving dog eating a dead kitten, and a dead puppy found in the gas chamber shed. PETA then visited the Bertie County Animal Shelter to see things firsthand. We found sick, injured animals in need of veterinary care, a leaky windowless gas box in which animals were placed to be killed, and facility that had no electricity and no covering for its cages. PETA immediately offered aid to Bertie County and to the City of Windsor, which operates its own facility within the county limits. There, animals were restrained on a metal pole and shot with a .22. Shortly after this, we found out that Hertford County's homeless animals were also gassed. We made arrangements to pay a local veterinarian to euthanize those animals by painless injection. PETA to this date subsidizes humane euthanasia at the Hertford facility, and has so far paid nearly $9,000 for this service.

Our trips to Northampton County began after it was discovered that a local veterinarian was illegally killing animals with injections of a paralytic, succinylcholine chloride, which causes respiratory arrest before loss of consciousness, leaving animals to suffer horrific deaths by suffocation while their organs freeze up. PETA has spent well over a quarter of a million dollars to improve the facilities, build and deliver doghouses for animals left outside with nothing but a metal barrel or not even so much as a tree in all weather. Even when we try sometimes, we still can't prevent suffering. This poor dog-despite our efforts-was retied in such a way that he could not reach the shade we had provided him by delivering a doghouse. He baked to death in the hot sun, just 2 weeks ago. We also spay and neuter animals as well as provide other medical care, apply flea and tick preventative to chained dogs who become so infested that they open sores on their bodies from scratching, give away straw and tie-outs, send animal control officers for training, hire staff to clean the shelters, purchase supplies for the shelter, and even build from the ground up a brand new cat housing barn in Bertie County. We have only ever helped and alleviated cruelty and suffering.

I would like to show you these photographs. Please take a look at the albums we have placed on the tables.

I will now turn this over to PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk.

INGRID: Now let me explain why PETA believes euthanasia is the kindest gift to a dog or cat unwanted and unloved. Please also try to put yourself in the place of those of us at PETA who care deeply for animals yet who have to hold the animals in our arms and take their lives because there is nowhere for them to go. The fact is that we cannot stop euthanasia until people stop letting dogs and cats bring new litters into the world. For every litter born, it is estimated that over 1,000 more animals will end up being destroyed as those litters grow up and start having litters themselves within six months. The numbers of unwanted animals are pretty impossible for the average person to imagine. If you have not worked in an open-admission shelter - one which does not set a limit on the number of animals it will accept and then turn away the others - you would be shocked. North Carolina shelters kill 35 animals annually for every 1,000 residents, and, as you have heard, most do not die a humane death. Someone asked could we not bring the animals from NC to Virginia to be placed? Well, Virginia already faces its own problem of large numbers of animals who can't find homes. We have actively lobbied for increased license fees for unsterilized animals, we were instrumental in getting Norfolk to pass a regulation requiring the animal shelter to pre-sterilize animals before adoption, and we run a spay clinic seven days a week to try to help. Citizens who are up in arms about the need for euthanasia should join us in being up in arms about stopping the flow of unwanted animals.

We were asked, could we not advertise for homes for them? The open admission shelters advertise every day for the animals they have, yet every day they must euthanise, they have no choice, because not enough people come to offer good homes to the ones already there and more animals are coming through the door.
Could we not turn the animals loose on the street? No, they would come to a bad end in traffic or by starving or they would simply end up in a shelter again.
Could we not run a refuge for them ourselves? Well, we could warehouse them and fill this building in a month, easily. There isn't the space, the money or the staff to do that properly for even one month's worth of unwanted animals, and what would we do the month after that and the month after that?

That is why we try to prevent current and future suffering by doing two things
1) we work at the roots, trying to stem the flow of unwanteds so that there will be fewer to euthanise. We do that by education, by advocacy, through pushy ads, by running a mobile sterilization clinic that has spayed thousands of animals in this area alone in the last few years.

And 2) we give the unwanted animals a painless exit from an uncaring world. We will not shy away from doing society's dirty work as long as the alternative is a life of misery and a bad death. And that is the alternative. As you have heard Ms. Nachminovitch say, in North Carolina, in these impoverished counties, the alternative has been slow death or bad death. Animals have frozen to death in the pounds there for lack of heat in winter; they have drowned there during floods, they used to be shot in the head with a .22 (and I ask you to imagine one man out there trying to hold the dog with one hand and shoot accurately with the other), and they were gassed to death in a windowless, metal box, struggling to get out. We would not be doing our job if we didn't stop those things.
There is no magic wand that will stop euthanasia, but each of us who has been upset by realizing that it happens, can look into our soul and honestly ask ourselves: "What am I doing to stop the overpopulation crisis for dogs and cats? To stop the killing."

If the answer is just feeling bad about it or complaining, that is no help at all. To fix the flow people must stop breeding, casually acquiring, and then dumping animals. We did not create the problem, but we try hard to fix it every single day. We also, from the very beginning, have begged North Carolina counties to allow us to help them establish on-site adoption programs and we can only hope that the current level of interest, after all these years, may allow that to happen at last.
Finally, let me say how PETA euthanises, and you are welcome to watch us do that, by appointment under conditions that you will not disturb the animal. PETA uses a barbiturate, sodium pentobarbitol, to deliver one injection into the dog or cat's leg. The animal is held lovingly and petted and talked to as the solution enters the vein. For many of these animals, that is the only loving touch they have ever felt.
Unconsciousness occurs in a matter of two or three seconds and occurs without trauma, without pain, and without the animal knowing. PETA has never made a secret of the fact that most of the animals picked up in North Carolina are euthanized. We want attention for euthanasia but no one is usually interested in this depressing story.

Now we hope that the counties of North Carolina will still not only welcome our services - for it would be a terrible step back if all that is focused on is the matter of the bodies put in the dumpsters. That conduct disgusts us, violates PETA protocol, happened without our knowledge and can never be allowed to happen again, but our work must go on. Thank you.

We will now take your questions.

Chris Overton / Activist Liaison / PETA
International Grassroots Campaigns
(757) 213-8742
When responding, please include our entire correspondence. Thank you.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

In Memory of Beau 

Well, we have some more sad news to tell. We have lost Beau, our beautiful bantam rooster whom we had put in with Annie to keep her company. You may remember me mentioning that in an earlier post, and his picture is up on the photo page. He was getting pretty old and debilitated and was being picked on by the main flock before we moved him in with Annie, like I had said, but had perked up and gotten all proud and everything after having a new girlfriend. Well, just yesterday afternoon we found him dead. He had been going down slowly over the past few days, but had seemed to be coming out of it, taking a little water and starting to hold his head up again, but apparently it was his time to go, and he peacefully slipped away.

During his last days, Laura's mother gave him much love and attention, feeding him energy, cleaning his face, and carefully giving him water. Annie, though, was showing so much concern that it was amazing and heartbreaking at the same time to watch her. She would repeatedly go over to him, muttering and clucking softly to him, even lying down beside him to keep him company and show her love and concern. It was really something to see. The kindness, concern, and love she showed for him was inspiring, even though it had become quite obvious to us that he could probably not make it, and was therefore sad to watch at the same time.

Beau was a very special rooster who we had gotten as a fuzzy baby chick (well, actually I say "we," but Laura and her mother got him long before Laura and I had even met - many times that I refer to "we" I mean all of us on this place). So, they had raised him, along with several others, from a little baby. They have lost several through the years as they have gotten older and had various problems that could not be healed, but Beau was somehow just a little bit more special simply because of how pretty and proud he had been during his life.

That was why it was upsetting to see him going down and being picked on by those he had grown up with and the others Laura and I raised from babies recently that I posted about and are still just known as "the peeps." They got that name from being just little "peepers" when they were cute and fuzzy. We still haven't named them, as they look so much alike, it would be hard for us to tell the difference between them all. Besides, most of the animals around here have gotten named because they did something or somehow or another revealed a name to us when they were ready. The "peeps" have not, so they are still just affectionately known as "the peeps," even though they are now full-grown laying hens. They are the ones that do the daily "line dance" when they see us coming with the tray of goodies and their other food.

Anyway, yesterday when Laura's mother found Beau dead and went in to get him, Annie came over to see what was going on. She is a very sweet and curious chicken who likes to be in on everything and see everything that is going on in her environment. She always has to be in the middle of anything we are doing when we are around her and enjoys a little petting, as she coos with pleasure. So, Annie has become our very special little hen (Remember that she was the one we picked up out of Hwy 270 after she fell of the live haul truck headed for the slaughterhouse.) that we really love and give extra love and attention to. Kind of hard not to, as she seems to feel like it is her due. It was explained to Annie that Beau had passed on, and Laura's mother let her look him over really well and say her own goodbye, as she wrapped him in a towel to bring him down here to add to the many others that are buried in our chicken cemetery. Annie looked him all over, up and down, murmuring softly, apparently satisfied herself of the situation and walked away, but she has been sad and in mourning ever since. We are currently deciding how to handle this situation so that she won't be lonely.

And that may have just fixed itself. You see, just this morning, underneath the bird feeder near Annie's yard, was a rooster, just standing there. We don't know where he came from, but there he was. We thought, "Ah! A perfect companion for Annie!" Well, it wasn't quite so easy as all of that. We have spent half the day trying to catch that rooster, but we have left so much of the woods wild here for the wildlife that he kept getting into the thickets where we couldn't get to him, and boy does he run fast! He finally got down into the thickest part of the place that we have and just sat in there crowing, almost like he was proud that he evaded all of us and was mocking our feeble human attempts to catch him!

Well, we had to leave for a bit this morning, as we had an appointment to go to, and when we got back, there was no sign of him. So, we resumed our search, but it turned up nothing. Laura even walked up and down the road in case he had decided to cross the road and head for the pond or the river down that way and because there are blackberries growing over there that might have interested him. Well, as she was walking along searching, one of the guys who runs a canoe float service came along, dropping off some canoers down across the road from us at the public access point to the river. Laura, for her part, didn't pass up the blackberries as she kept on with her search, delaying until the guy could make his drop and head back out so that she could question him about whether or not he had seen a chicken down that way. Turns out he saw THREE! of them down at the river yesterday morning and believes that if we go down there first thing in the morning we might find them. So, we will do that, although we don't intend to wait that long, as I know that they will roost this evening, at which time I plan to resume my search to see if I can locate them. Well, all but one. One of them has already sadly met a bad fate. The dogs dragged him up yesterday afternoon, and it appeared that he had been the victim of a car, though it was hard to tell since there wasn't a lot left of him to go on.

Where will we put these new arrivals if and when we catch them? Good question, and one we are working on figuring out right now. But, as always, we tend to figure out something whenever someone shows up in need of help. As soon as I finish my lunch, it looks as if I will be heading back outside to start some more building just in case we locate them so that we have somewhere to put them if and when we get them. Because even if we don't get these, more will show up. They always do.

Boy! We can't wait until we get our new and expanded facilities built down at the garden, where we can add quite a few with no problem, as they will have bigger houses, bigger yards, and a big area to roam free in inside a very high fence during the day. We intend to start on that after we return from the AR2005 conference. I just wish we could get local help building, a bit of funding, and had more room for our unplanned, but ultimate, and much-needed sanctuary for chickens. If you live close by and are reading this, we can use all the help we can get. They are coming to us faster than we can build proper places for them. I am afraid that the word is spreading that we take them in just as we do dogs and cats, as it seems that someone is dumping unwanted roosters now for us to find. Why don't they just bring them to the house, though? Good question. It sure would be much easier to help them if we didn't have to run them down through thickets and briar vines, tripping over things (I even have a black eye from tripping and hitting a limb this morning, and we showed up for our appointment with cedar needles, twigs, and "sticktights" all over us and in our hair. Yeah, I can hear you laughing. Ha ha!)

Well, at least things are never boring down here on the riverbank and in our neck of the woods. But I sure do wish people wouldn't just dump them out, especially since we can't always find them in time. I am tired of burying animals of all species that someone dumped and we didn't find until it was too late - dogs, kittens, chickens, etc. Too many. And they weren't even ours, though we couldn't just leave them lying there. But that's what happens when there is no shelter in this whole county to take them to. People dump them or shoot them. Too many unwanted animals in this world and not enough people doing what they can to stem the tide.

You will be hearing more on other repercussions of this problem shortly, as I have already received some news of another sad situation involving the victims of overpopulation and viewing animals as "things" and nothing more than property to do with as humans wish to, without regard to the animals' welfare or the far-reaching consequences of such attitudes and actions. Unfortunately, in that story the focus is being put on those that were trying to help as opposed to those who are causing the problem by not spaying and neutering their animals, buying them from pet stores and breeders, as opposed to going to the overflowing shelters. So, there will be another post from me very soon as I get all my facts in and get it put together.

I'm not happy today. It really bothers me to see animals just tossed aside as nothing. And if these types of stories bother you, don't just shake your head and feel bad. Get off your butt and try to help. Please. Those of us that are trying to help are overstretched and can't possibly save them all, no matter how hard we try. And the victims, well the poor innocent animals certainly don't deserve the treatment they are receiving at the hands of humanity. People should be ashamed if they are part of the problem, which you are if you are not actively helping as part of the solution.

Maybe they are and that's why they dump them in the night when no one is around to see....
Posted by: # Virgil / 2:16 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Another Slaughterhouse Whistle-Blower Has Come Forward! 

I have received a couple of emails from a reader who just happens to be someone who works in a chicken slaughterhouse in Australia. The first email came in around the first of the year, but at that time, the person writing it was too worried about repercussions to have me post a single word about it. And, as everyone who has read this blog knows, I never, ever post anything written t me in private emails without the full permission and consent of the person emailing me. Even then, I take the extra step of sending them the written post before it is posted to make doubly sure that there is nothing in it that they do not want told. I hear a lot more than is ever read on these pages from people all around the world. I only hope that I will continue to hear from other brave and courageous workers from everywhere who are willing to tell their personal stories whether or not they wish to share their name or anything else personal that would identify them. As those of you who have followed this blog know, it was the workers' plight that first started all of this, and I still fight for them just as hard as I do for the animals they slaughter every day. The conditions are horrendous for both. If we can improve the conditions for one, it will improve the conditions for both. and, like I have stressed many times before, CAK is the best way to accomplish that.

So, slaughterhouse workers everywhere, write and tell your stories if you want your lives and jobs to get better. There are far more people that care about you than you might think. And the improvements that the AR community is fighting for will majorly benefit YOU! Don't listen to the company you work for. Haven't they lied to you and treated you badly countless times before? I promise to you that I will keep fighting for you to make things better. But I need your help to do that. The more of you who take the time and have the courage to write, the faster we can make that happen. It's up to you how much longer you want to continue to endure what you are going through when we do have the ability to come together, tell our stories to the world, and have things change for the better. That may sound hard to believe, but it will happen. It is just a matter of time, and the more of you who come forward, the faster these improvements will be implemented.

Help me to help you!

The second email came at the end of last month, and while the person is still a bit worried about others figuring out who is writing these emails, they are ready for them to be posted, though they still wish to remain anonymous. Can you blame anyone for that fear after seeing what I went through (and am STILL going through!) after coming out, publicly talking, along with using my real name, and blowing the whistle on Tyson? This is not the first worker I have heard from, but only the second willing to have anything at all posted on this site, and both wished to remain anonymous. Perhaps the next person will not be so worried about anonymity. Either way, as long as people can read what you have to say, that is the most important thing. If you want someone to fight for you then you are going to have to help us to fight for you by talking. Forget the fear and intimidation your company instills in its workers. Talk! Get it out there!

Anyway, after this last communication the person indicated that they would agree to me going ahead and posting the information sent to me, as long as I was careful to protect their real identity. I am hoping that I have succeeded in doing so by the way these two emails were handled. I took the precaution of resending the original email to make sure that there were no details they wanted deleted or blanked out before posting - they meant what they said - use it, just don't identify me by name. I truly hope that I have lived up to that agreement in such a way that they do not feel the pain and weight of the repercussions I have had to endure. (Most of the editing that was done was simply cleaning up typos, deleting the name that would have identified this individual, and things like that. Otherwise this is what was written word for word.)

Here is most of the first one:

I've been reading your blog for the last couple of days with interest,
going through your archive.

I too work at a chicken plant, albeit a small one, here In Bunbury. Its
name is Finesse Foods, and it processes 9000 chickens a day. These are
mostly what we call Prime (broiler), but there are also plenty of meat
hens (I guess you'd call them 'spent hens' over there), fowl, and rooster.
am currently doing the job of "sitter" - putting the chickens on the
cones on one of the conveyor belts (we have two conveyor belts in the
'boning room'). It is quite simply the most boring job on earth - but at
least it isn't messy like on the kill floor.

I was quite shocked to read a lot of what you wrote, and even more
shocked to realise the similarities between our plant and Tyson's over
there. For one, the conditions seem quite similar ( though not quite as
dangerous here). We have quite a problem with red birds over here at
times - tho they're still placed on the line to be boned out (I had no
idea that these birds would be contaminated like you said - it never
occurred to me). We also regularly get "runts" which won't sit on the
cones properly to be boned, but they're still boned out for meat too.

After the meat has been removed from the carcasses, what is left
(including in many cases intestines full of crap which are sometimes
missed and not removed before going through) is fed into the "bee-hive".
It is the only machine that defies the rule "crap in, crap out" in that
the muck (some call it mince; I won't) coming out looks mored edible and
smells better than the shit they shove into it. It makes me sick to
think that somebody in Asia is eating the stuff. Did you have such a
machine in your plant?.

Oh, and our kill plant is probably worse than yours - it's an old beef
floor that has been converted for chicken slaughter and it is literally
falling apart at the seams. At one stage while I was there the power was
going out across the entire kill plant (it was separate from the boning
and packing operations about 30km away) several times a day due to the
plant's electrical systems not being able to cope with the load during
the summer. Luckily they are going to be building a new kill plant in
the very near future (and not before time!).
I also saw the live hang crew mistreat birds at times (mainly due to the birds shitting on their faces), and got badly bruised birds through the boning room which I had
to put on the cones. I couldn't help feel sorry for the poor birds in
those cases. Luckily, though I occasionally worked near the live hang
crew, I never partook in their kicking or otherwise mistreating chickens.
In fact, when I saw chickens that had managed to jump out of the small
plastic cages they came in, I often helped them "escape" from the live
hang area - pushing them off the gangway and onto the ground below where
their fate would at least be averted for a short time before they were
recaptured. (The live hang area was on the second story of the building
in the outdoors. Pallets of chicken crates were lifted up onto a
conveyor which delivered the chickens to the two hangers, who unloaded
the crates two-at-a-time by hand. I had the job of removing all the
chicken feet from the shackles ready for the live hang people .).

I'm sorry for the short and rather disjointed nature of this email, but
I just wanted to send a quick email this time to touch base with you and
let you know that, unfortunately, some of what you described happens
here too. Oh, and did I mention that our plant is also in the habit of
paying off the health inspectors?


I'll write more once I hear from you

And here is most of the second one:

Hi again
It's ____ here - I wrote to you a while ago about my experiences in the chicken industry here in Western Australia. If you still have my e-mail from back then then you have my permission to use it - just please don't identify me by name. I'm still working at the chicken plant - but have cut my hours down to three days....only because I can't find another job. Until then, I can handle 3 days there. It's so funny (not really - but ironic perhaps) to read how the mistreatment is universal in the industry. I admit that we don't get treated THAT badly compared to some of the stories I've read on your site, but we still get heavy-handed by the management there, and the bosses are all pricks. I don't know - maybe the industry attracts that sort of person? No wonder I want out.
As I said in my earlier email our kill plant only processes 9000 chooks a day. The plant is tiny compared to the one you worked in. Only one short chain. The building it is in has a lot longer history - I believe it's been standing since the 1920's. It's falling apart.
On the chain there are two hangers who hang the chooks in the "back dock" (really only a metal gangway with a conveyor belt onto which pallets cages of chickens - sorry, "pre-processed product," are loaded to be hung. The hangers then grab the cages, move then to the line under the hooks, open the cages and hang the chickens by their legs. The chickens then go through the stunner and a blade cuts their necks, watched by a "mussie" (Muslim, these chickens are certified halal, and a lot of our product goes overseas). They then go through the scalder and featherer. At this stage, there are two metal bars which catch the heads as they whiz past and pull them off. Often they will fall off the line at this stage so there are two guys ("re-hangers") stationed there to re-hang the chickens that fall off. I've done re-hang - and we don't have the luxury of raincoats in there either. You can imagine how wet with chicken-blood you get in there ;-)
The chickens then have their feet cut off by a metal blade and fall into a chute to go into the gutting floor, where they first go through a machine that cuts the crop off, and then get gutted by two people in the room. A third person makes sure that no guts remain in the chicken and pulls the fat out of their arseholes (or what remains of them). They then go through a machine that blows air through the carcass to remove any traces of gut that the guys miss before falling off the chain into the "spin-chill" (or should that be "contamination chamber" *grin*) and are packed. It's been a while since I've worked in the kill plant, and I'm told some things have changed since I was there. There's also a new plant being built. I look forward to visiting it one day - just to see if things have improved or not with the new plant.
Anyway, I'll leave this e-mail at that for now and await your reply.
Feel free to use the info I have provided you on your website, but just don't identify me by name.

Come on workers! Fight the fear! Tell the world what you are put through every day! I know you are tough folks because I know all too well what it takes to stand on that line. So, come on and stand up for yourselves. You can do it. I know you can! Tell them! Tell them ALL about it! Every dirty detail.....

Again, help me to help you!
Posted by: # Virgil / 8:20 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The roosters are in their new yard - FINALLY!!!!!!! 

I already announced this in the groups, but since the photo page was down that day, all day long, I waited until I could get them loaded before writing this up here. Now it's up so I can finally write this post here.

But before I get on with it, I would like to call your attention to something I also just added to the photo page that happened 10-23-04. The reason it took so long to mention, much less actually put a picture up for, was that the event was a Sierra Club float trip of the Little Maumelle River, in which a group of us all worked together with the Forestry Service and cleaned up a stretch of river of all of the litter. Well, after the event we had to wait to receive the newsletter and then get a way to scan it to upload it. So, that has now been done.

We will be doing another one of these soon on our stretch of the Ouachita river, actually hosting the event ourselves, though with a much smaller bunch of people and no inexperienced beginners, and it will be a much longer float than the one we did that day. This one won't be organized with the Forestry people, either, but just our small group with all of our own equipment. It won't take me near as long to post about it, as we intend to be able to take some of our own pics of the event and upload them, as opposed to waiting on the newsletter to come out, simply editing that entry to include the newsletter write-up (if there is one). Anyway, for those interested, you can check out the posting there, which also gives you a bonus funny (though somewhat embarrassing for me - yeah, I knew that would make you click on it and read it! LOL!) little story about another float trip we took.

Anyway, back to the roosters.

I just can't express to you strongly enough how glad we were to finally get their house and yard done. Well, they still need some finishing features, but they are now living in it and happy as they can be. I can hear them crowing as I type this, in fact. I saw them grab a tick for the first time yesterday, and oh! the fun they are having tearing apart the half-rotten logs we put in there for them to sit/stand or whatever they wished to do on. They have been going at those bugs inside of them and having a regular feast like they have never had before.

We also took great pains to leave all of the natural greenery, even a young ironwood sapling that is growing smack in the middle of their yard. I don't know how long it will last before they either eat all of the groundcover greenery or scratch it up, but we always give all of the chickens not only fresh produce, but also fresh naturally-growing green stuff all the time. Like when we mow, we rake up areas of the fresh grass and give it to them. When we weed the flower beds, they get that, too. If nothing else, Laura will walk around all over the yard this time of year and pick everyone the fresh grass seed heads to give to them. Oh, they love those! Though chickweed seems to be their favorite. When the chickweed is seeding, they go after those seeds first. We have often wondered if that was how it got its name. Anyone know? If so, write me and let me know. It would be interesting to find that out. Most of the time we try not to get a lot of the chickweed for them, as we use it medicinally for ourselves, but they do get some. Either accidentally or on purpose just to give them an extra treat. (It's another one of those plants most people think of as "weeds" to exterminate, like dandelions, that they never realize are useful and have herbal/medicinal uses, as well as just being a nutritional food source. And a free one at that!) Anyone interested in the medicinal properties and how to use either of these so-called "weeds," just write, and Laura will be glad to share her herbal knowledge with you. Plantain we have just learned, is another excellent nutritional source for chickens, and they love it. It grows naturally here, and we also use it medicinally. People really need to get a better understanding of nature. The vast majority of those plants they regard as "weeds" are actually quite beneficial to them and would save on the amount they spend on medicine and have no side effects!

But don't get me started on that. This post is about the roosters.

Once you look at the photos of them, you will see how big they have gotten and the reason Laura's mother has dubbed them "the monsters." Well that, and the fact that they always attacked us when we went to feed and water them. We laughed at it, but she didn't think it was so funny. She is actually quite scared of them! She absolutely refuses to open the door to feed and water them when we are gone, and we are going to rig up a way that she won't have to do that when we finish adding the rest of the amenities to the yard.

Now, keep in mind that when you see the pics of this yard, that everything but the wire, nails, and goo for the tin roof, was scavenged materials and reused lumber. Being as financially-strapped as we are and the fact that we make every donation count, stretching them as far as we possibly can, we don't waste other peoples' hard-earned money on things when we don't have to. Also, this is intended to be a temporary home for the roosters, just as the place we put Annie and Beau is also temporary. In fact, we consider every yard on this place temporary now.

It has become quite obvious to us that we will keep receiving chickens that are in need of rescue, so that means that we must expand our facilities to include them to keep us from having the problems that we had when Annie and the roosters arrived so unexpectedly. We would also like to get away from these small yards everywhere and fix them a place where they can enjoy a much more natural life and environment.

So, our idea (and this will come after the AR2005 conference in July that I am speaking at and when we are then able to raise the necessary funding to accomplish a task of such magnitude) is to build the houses on a slop up form the garden so that Mother Nature keeps the yards clean and the garden fertilized. There will be small yards attached to these that will have a gate on them that we can open each day to allow them out into a much bigger area that is protected by a 12-foot high fence. that will allow them all plenty of room to do whatever they want to do and yet keep them out of the road and keep other predators away from them, though it is hard for any predator to sneak up around here with all of these dogs running around. There are eight in all on this place, with four rescued cats, between the three households.

So, it does indeed look as if we will become a full-fledged sanctuary whether we like it or not (though you don't hear me crying about it). My main worry is keeping enough finding coming in to take care of everyone properly. I have read about the problems that Eastern Shore Sanctuary has had. They started out with a couple of hens and now have around 200 birds on the place, spending their own money to take care of them all. Read all about their adopt-a-bird plan they have on their site. Most of you probably blow more money in a week (a good percentage probably do it every single day, in fact) than it takes to care for a chicken for a month.

We also spend far more than we ever take in to care for even just the chickens, much less all of the rest of our animals on this place. If it weren't for Laura's mother chipping in regularly to help buy feed for those chickens, we certainly would not be able to do it. But, even with her helping, there is no way we could take care of 200 without a lot of help. But, neither could we just leave them on the side of the road and keep driving on by, like we didn't see them. No way. We would see them. And we would have to stop and rescue them. It's that simple. Just like we did with Annie. We had nowhere to put her at the time, but we did it anyway because if we didn't she would have died. It was that simple. Same with the roosters. And now all of them are doing wonderfully.

So, people, when you open your wallets and decide to give a bit to help animals, think of the small sanctuaries that barely hang on. Everything you donate to them directly helps an animal. It certainly does here. So far every penny I have gotten since I announced that we no longer need personal financial help and that everything would go directly to the animals HAS. And, so far, the very few people that have contributed since that post and the one asking for help to get to the AR2005 conference, have had their money go to help these chickens instead. It wasn't much anyway (not taking anything away from those generous and kind souls - I mean, we very much appreciate every single dollar we get to help us care for these animals, and we realize that few of you have much to send. But, it wouldn't have gotten us anywhere close to the amount we needed to get to that conference, so we decided to spend it on the chickens instead, just having faith that something would work out that would get us there, even if we had to hitchhike and camp out somewhere). We are still working on funding for the conference, and we will be going, as we do have a backup plan if need be. We have someone willing to foot the bill for the airfare, but they can't afford it anymore than we can, and it would leave them with a huge credit card bill that they couldn't pay. We are desperately trying to avoid that.

So, once I again, as much as I hate to do it, please help with whatever you can. Every little bit helps - it really does. Now that we have the chickens all squared away, every dollar taken in will go to funding the airfare for the trip to the conference. It is over $700 for us to go. We have already worked out arrangements for the room and the registration, and we are pretty sure for the meals, but we need to get there! Won't you help? At least a little bit? I get no personal gain from this - I won't be paid for speaking. The benefit is that the rest of the attendees will hear what I have to say, and I will be able to hear what they have to say and do a bit of networking so that we can all work harder to help animals. That's it. I am sure that with the number of readers of this blog and the number of members of the groups I host that we can show how dedicated we are and prove that you don't have to be a huge organization to make a big difference. We can prove that one small person, or even a group of regular people, can and do make a difference.

When that happens, it inspires others to get up off their butts and try. It inspired them to say "if that one little guy can do this then I can do this!" And then that idea spreads. And things get done. Differences are made. Apathy is crushed, and hope and each person's belief in their ability to make a difference grows. The world needs more of that attitude desperately.

And with that, I will end this post with a couple of appropriate quotes:

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.
--Anne Frank

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
--Edward Everett Hale
Posted by: # Virgil / 11:16 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Tortured by Tyson - Again! Part Two, an Update 

Imagine the one thing in your life that you were the most ashamed of.

Then imagine turning around and watching that in a video over and over again.

That's what I did today.

I was extremely surprised by the way I reacted to seeing the video that the PETA investigator got out of that Tyson slaughterhouse in Heflin, Alabama. I think it actually affected me even more than it did Laura. She spent some time preparing herself for actually seeing what it was I did. She had read a lot about it, and had even seen some pictures,but had never actually seen it in full that way. It deeply upset her, of course, but what it did to me was extreme and made me feel worse than awful, wondering how I could have dome such a horrifying thing for so many years. The guilt and shame just came rushing back to me in such an unexpected way. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not the type to cry at anything. That's how powerfully it upset me. I thought I would have to comfort Laura after her seeing that, but it turned out the other way around. She came to hug me, and I just clung to her, feeling so very ashamed and guilty for my participation in such horror and something that I knew was wrong even way back then.

I couldn't even begin to describe all of the horrible memories that it brought back.

God only knows how many nights I stood there and did that very same job.

It seems like a different person did that, certainly not the one I am today, I guess that's true in a way. I could certainly never treat any living being that way again. I have had more than enough of violence and killing, certainly more than my share. Even as I work to atone for my actions, it still affects me, and it seems like it affects me even more than I ever realized. Viewing that video brought it all back to me in a rush, just like I was standing there on that line again. I might as well have been in the way that I felt. It is hard to describe in words on this site, but that's the best I can do to convey to you the effect it had on me. I guess it will just continue to haunt me to the end of my days. I wish I could take it all back, but then, as I have said before, if I had not done that work and experienced what I did, I certainly could not be doing what I do today.

It was the heartlessness, the callousness, that I saw when I watched the person shown that was having to pull the heads off of those birds and just throw them on the floor like trash. It reminded me of our utility doing the same thing when he stood behind me when I missed some that the killing machine had missed when I couldn't kill them all.

You would think that I would have been more prepared for what I was about to see when I put that video into the machine to watch it. I thought I was more prepared than what I was. But I think that I have been so caught up in doing something about it that I had somehow managed to suppress the horror of what I was trying to do something about.

I was clearly reminded of that today.

You see, I wrote my last post before seeing that video. I tried over and over again to see it online, but again my slow dial-up connection prevented me from being able to see it. I also wrote that post before talking to the investigator that filmed it. I did that yesterday while I waited for the video to be shipped to me from PETA so that I could see it and confirm what I had only suspected had happened after viewing the photos that I did manage to get and put up in my groups and on my photo page. I thought that it was necessary to talk to the investigator who was actually there to have my thoughts on the matter confirmed, just as I thought that it was necessary to view that horrible video to be absolutely sure that what I was assuming and writing was accurate. I try very hard to make sure that what I say is totally accurate when I write here and in my groups so that the information I send out is correct and informative. This was especially important in this case because of the lame and completely unbelievable lies and denials I had read in the many articles I read that showed what Tyson had to say on the matter in their lame and completely untrue response. Who do they really think they are fooling? Not me, for sure. And certainly not the increasing number of the people finding out the truth of what really goes on behind those doors that they have managed to keep quiet about for so many years. The truth is getting out, and there is nothing they can do to stop it. Even meat-eaters do not want the animals they eat tortured and abused before they are killed. And a majority of them are even willing to pay a little more to make sure that they are treated as humanely as possible, even in a farming state like Ohio, where I read these excerpts in an article:
(If this link happens to die before you read this article - it is still good now - you can also read it where I posted it to our group here)

A recent Ohio State University survey found that 92% percent of Ohioans say they agreed or strongly agreed that it is important for farm animals to be well cared for. Eighty-five percent said the quality of life for farm animals is important even when they are used for meat.
In addition, 81% agreed that "the well-being of farm animals is just as important as the well-being of pets," and 75% agreed with the statement that "farm animals should be protected from feeling physical pain."
A recent Ohio State University survey found that 92% percent of Ohioans say they agreed or strongly agreed that it is important for farm animals to be well cared for. Eighty-five percent said the quality of life for farm animals is important even when they are used for meat.
In addition, 81% agreed that "the well-being of farm animals is just as important as the well-being of pets," and 75% agreed with the statement that "farm animals should be protected from feeling physical pain."
In addition, Sharp said that a majority (54%) of Ohioans said they were very concerned about the genetic modification of animals.
Okay, back to the subject at hand:

Well, after talking to the man that bravely went in there and got this undercover footage (and I don't know who he is and told him not to tell me his name - I only spoke to him on the phone.) I can say that not only what I posted was accurate, but that what he wrote in his log was totally accurate as well. It was dead-on chicken plant USA. I also want to mention that this man did a very good job, and I can't imagine how heart-wrenching it was to be a part of that horror and be able to do nothing to really help stop the suffering of those birds and still get that all-important footage when you care so much. It was hard for me to do so when I was used to doing it and before I got so involved in this movement. He truly did stand in a killer's shoes, just as I did, and just as many others do and are doing even as you read this. Only he had the guts to do something about it. For that, I wish to commend him not only a job well-done, but on the ability and bravery to put it all on the line and endure the horror to bring this situation to light for the public to see. It really takes a very special and dedicated person to be able to do what he did. I'm sure that he will never get those images, sounds, and the sheer horror of that nightmare out of his mind and will be forever marked by it, just as I am. Kudos to you, dude, whoever you are. I respect your caring, bravery, and dedication. And I am one of the few who truly understands what it is like to stand there and helplessly watch as a poor baby hen is scalded to death, unable to stop it and listen to her flop around as she dies in a violent and extremely horrible manner. I will never forget that as long as I live, and I doubt you will either..

What he said and what I saw on that video could have been in any plant anywhere in this country, and possibly, if not probably in other countries as well. Some are probably even worse than ours are, actually. These incidents are anything but isolated. As most of you can see, any plant that an investigator walks into and films in, finds the same situation. I challenge any of you that have not read my early posts to go back and read them and try to find differences in what I reported and what has been revealed through the various undercover investigations that have come to light recently since I came forward and started revealing the depth of the cruelty in these hellholes. About the only difference you will find is that my accounts are more lengthy and tell much more simply because I was there for so long, and these investigators were only there for a relatively short time.

What I reported happened in various Tyson plants in Arkansas, though mostly in Grannis. Then there was a similar damning report in a Pilgrim's Pride plant in W. VA. Now this one in Heflin, AL. This should show even the most skeptical person that these kinds of events are not isolated or anywhere limited in scope. They happen everywhere. All the time. right now as you are reading this. Yep, there went yet another baby hen peeping frantically as she was dumped into scalding hot water to drown, unable to get way. Yet another redbird, as the industry calls them, contaminating the water that the rest go into. A fecal soup, so to speak, caused by birds being scalded alive, spewing fecal matter, and inhaling it down deep into the tissues and organs. And you wonder why so many are contaminated and so many people get so sick. That, and running sick birds. That happens a lot, too, as you may remember me discussing. The industry doesn't care about the consumers any more than they care about the chickens or the workers. Your dollars are all they care about. As long as you keep handing them over to them, nothing will change..

When I viewed that video it was obvious to me that there were problems with that killing machine that could have been fixed simply by resetting it. The video even had an employee confirming that. I would say that a good deal of the suffering was poor maintenance, just as we experienced down at Grannis. And the other major problem, also confirmed by my talk with the investigator, was just as I suspected - a lot of one-leggers. He said that there were quite a few of them. But then, that was obvious to me by looking at the photos of the kinds of injuries I saw. I saw far too many of those to suspect anything else. The line speeds are just too fast for the workers to be able to keep up. He also confirmed something else I had noticed - birds with their heads hung in their with their legs. I don't care how good you are or how experienced you are (and most workers are not, as these plants have a very high turnover rate, as you might expect), you just can't keep up with that kind of line speed and do a proper job. You just can't, especially not all night long, and especially when the equipment is malfunctioning. Even with all the years I spent working that job, I couldn't even do it all the time. So, you can't blame just the workers, either. Place the blame where it belongs - all the way at the top where they are lining their pockets at the expense of everyone else.

It was obvious to me, and should have been even to the untrained eye, that quite a few of those birds entered the scalding tank fully conscious and feeling extreme suffering. I could even hear them peeping just before they went under. You have to remember that even though these bird look full-grown due to industry manipulation to get them to grow faster, they are still babies., They don't cluck yet - they still peep like babies do. That water is anywhere from 140 to 160 degrees, and actually bubbles like a pot of beans cooking on the stove. They are scalding innocent baby birds alive and fully conscious and feeling every bit of the pain. You know how bad it hurts when you splash even a small amount of cooking food on your hand. Now just imagine what it would be like to have your entire body dunked in water that hot. It happens every day and night in every plant.

I saw the part on that video where the supervisor confirmed that they officially allowed this to happen to 40 birds a day. He said that they used to only restrict it to 15, but then upped the number to 40. What kind of company sees nothing wrong with allowing at least (if not more than, as the investigator reported) 40 babies to be dumped into scalding hot water and sees nothing wrong with it? How can they possibly find that acceptable? Do you??????

I had already talked in my last post about what would happen to a line worker that stopped the line because one single chicken was about to be scalded alive, as Tyson was reported as saying that the investigator should have done. Now, how does that square with their official position (recorded on that tape, no less!) that it is acceptable to allow that to happen to 40 with no problem? Liars!!!!!!!!

Again, as important as it is to add poultry to the Humane Slaughter Act, as long as these sorts of things are seen as "acceptable business practices," there is little that will help these birds simply by getting them covered under it, though it is still worthwhile to have a law to actually use against the worst abusers, like Tyson. It is a good start and definitely should be done, but there is still no substitute for implementing controlled atmosphere killing.

You know, it would only take a moment of your time to express your feelings on this matter. Below, in my last post, I gave you the information om how to contact John Tyson and Ed Nicholson. Well, just today I came across one more way of doing that via UPC (thanks Karen).

You can also email John Tyson at mailto:John.Tyson@Tyson.com.

If you want to take it a step further and contact Tyson's suppliers to send them a copy of the correspondence you send to Tyson, asking them to implement CAK, then here is also the contact info for them as well (also courtesy of UPC):

James A. Skinner, CEO
McDonald's Corporation
McDonald's Plaza
Oak Park, IL 60523
Call: 630-623-3000
Fax: 630-623-5004

David Novak, CEO
KFC-Yum! Brands
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213
Call: 502-874-8300
Fax: 502-874-9291
Hotline: 800-225-5532

George Watts, CEO
National Chicken Council
1015 15 th St. NW, Suite 930
Washington DC 20005
Call: 202-296-2622
Fax: 202-293-4005
Email: mailto:Gwatts@ChickenUSA.org
Posted by: # Virgil / 7:37 PM 0 comments

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