<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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

Other Worker Safety Problems - Drugs 

Drug abuse is a real problem all over the plant, but especially in the live hang/catcher departments. The reason for this is simple - line speeds and demands on workers greater than are physically possible under normal circumstances. So, in order to keep their jobs, people resort to chemical help.

It may come in the form of OTC drugs, such as mini-thins (ephedrine hydrochloride). diet pills, or yellow jackets. Or it may come in the form of illegal drugs such as crystal meth or fraudulently-obtained prescription drugs. Also, in some cases. steroids have been used.

Basically whatever it takes to keep up the furious pace is what people will do.

At any rate, this problem creates yet another serious safety problem. It is a well-known fact that the poultry industry has one of the highest rates of on-the-job accidents of all industries. It is my belief that a large part of this is due to on-the-job drug use.

The industry claims to test for illegal drug use. I know this to be somewhat of a farce. I was tested during my job application and never again in the 10 years that I worked there. As a matter of fact, when so-called "random testing" was being done, I was warned ahead of time and sent home.

They only use drug tests on those they want to get rid of or don't want to pay worker's compensation for when someone is injured. Otherwise, they could care less as long as yu show up and do your job.

Some drug policy, huh? They don't care about that any more than they care about safety or quality or pollution. They care about production - the bottom line. And they will do anything to achieve it, no matter what that is or how illegal it may be. They are in it for the money and for no other reason. Nothing else matters.

Not the workers and especially not the chickens. Ahem. Pre-processed and post-processed product. I almost forgot that they aren't considered to be living, feeling beings in the industry. They are nothing but "product."

Well, the chickens here and at Eastern Shore and the many other sanctuaries around the country are chickens. They are individuals with names and personalities all their own. They are no different from the ones shipped off in trucks to be killed for food. They were just the lucky ones who found caring people to take them in. That's the only difference.
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