<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

More of My Personal Story 

There seems to be a question or two that I am asked about repeatedly as I pursue my activism. The first and most often one goes along the lines of "How could you do that for so many years." The second is more about why did I make these changes - why now after so many years?

The answers to these questions are not simple ones with simple answers, though I have touched on them in the past, both in past posts here and in speeches elsewhere. In fact, each question probably deserves its own post.

So, we will start with the first one. Why I did this horrendous work for so little pay for so many years. First off, I am from a very rural farming community where killing animals is a way of life. It's done on a very regular basis, not always for food either, and thought very little about, at least not talked about openly. People shoot or dump unwanted dogs in the woods and think nothing about it. Or they neglect one to death and then go get another and repeat the process. I have seen it time and time again.

I know that I vividly remember killing another living being for the first time. I also remember the scorn heaped upon me for showing emotion for the animal's life I had just taken.

I guess that was part of the reason that it was no great step to go to work in a slaughter plant. I mean, after all, they also kill animals for food, which is an accepted and unquestioned practice here. I made my first kill when I was eight. I have seen pictures in the newspaper of little kids as young as six, male and female alike, standing over their kill with a big grin on their little faces, all proud of themselves. It's awful to see.

Also, I needed to make a living, and that slaughterhouse was the most steady, and sometimes only, living around. So, I went to work and did what any "man" would. I sucked up my feelings and did my job the best I could. That's what I was taught a "real man" does. I know better now, of course.

I have had people ask why don't these poor people just find other work, too. There seems to be almost as big of a disconnect between life in the rural areas versus life in the cities as there is between what happens in these filthy concentration camps called factory farms and what people put on their plates to eat and to serve to their families.

When you don't live in places like this, you can't understand that there isn't a choice of other jobs. Many times it is that or nothing. After all, I still have not had a steady job since leaving Tyson 11/12/02. Yet every time I have checked the unemployment office my old job is always listed. People wonder how I have done it. Many believe that I have to have been doing something illegal. No, but I have worked my butt off for even worse pay than before just finding odd jobs.

Even with very few prospects, few people can last there in the plant on back dock hanging and killing. It's funny that I actually used to be proud of the fact that I could "put my emotions in my pocket" as I used to say, but that now that same situation causes me the greatest shame I have ever felt.

I will deal with other aspects of this in later posts, as there are many more to follow. The Blogathon is just over 1/4 through, so we have a lot of time to go yet. And I am just getting started.

If you want to read more about what it was like, in between the rapid posts, go check the earliest archives. But beware, many are quite graphic in nature. I spared nothing in the telling. But it is all the truth.
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