<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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 on the Human Victims of Factory Farming 

Back in February I did a radio show. I discussed the plight of the workers and made a strong case for implementing Controlled Atmosphere Killing. It is available as a free mp3 download here.

There is a problem that bothers me with many activists in the animal rights movement. You see, there is a large percentage of them who view the workers as "monsters" because of the brutality of their job. As I explained before in an earlier post, most of these activists are city people who don't understand that the rural communities that these companies choose to locate their businesses in are places where people live in deep poverty and where there is a plentiful supply of cheap labor willing to do just about anything to feed their families.

Not that there are no sadistic people who work in these places. Most of the people I worked with had been convicted of violent crimes, including me, though I was neer sadistic towards animals. I did attack people who were, though. More than once, too. I sent one guy to the hospital in pretty bad shape, but Tyson covered for me because I was so good at my job.

These plants prey on such people, especially if they are on parole because they know that these people can't afford to complain and lose their jobs or they will go back to jail. They treat them the same way they treat the undocumented workers they smuggle across the borders and supply with documents allowing them to work.

Naturally, such treatment creates great resentment and frustration, which begets violence towards the animals and people, especially their own families.

Domestic violence is a major problem in this area. It can range from simple verbal abuse to serious physical assault and battery. Not all perpetrators of this sort of violence work on live hang, by any means, but a large percentage of live hangers are domestic abusers. I believe that there are several reasons for this.

Number one: They are exposed to very high levels of violent behavior every day/night that they work and even participate in some level of it themselves. They then carry this mentality and desensitization to violence home to their families.

Number 2: The working conditions in these places are terribly bad. It is extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter. My feet would actually freeze to the floor some nights. Dust levels are very high. Maintenance is poor or non-existent. People are expected to work in the dark, in the heat, and withut adequate water, toilet, or personal hygiene breaks. All of this leads to high levels of anger and frustration.

Last, but not least, is the influence on expendability. You are made very aware of how expendable you are from day one. It's either put out or get out. Bottom line. This also leads to anger and frustration. I personally was forced to lie to an OSHA investigator during my time at Tyson or lose my job.

What I am trying to say here is that the bottom line is this: The people may have committed some terrible acts. I am not making excuses for that. All I am trying to say is that it doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

Look at me. I was once considered "the best killer in Arkansas," but now I save chickens rather than kill them. Not such a bad guy after all, huh?
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