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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, March 29, 2005
There were multiple stories on this, three of which were reported at my Activists Against Factory Farming groups.
The main bit of news here is that, as one headline reads, "Johns Hopkins Study Finds Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Retail Poultry Products," and that "Drug-Resistant Bacteria on Poultry Products Differ by Brand."
Guess which one was the worst? You guessed it - Tyson.
96% of the Tyson chicken was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant strains of Campylobacter!!!!!!
This study was the "first to directly compare bacterial contamination of poultry products sold in U.S. supermarkets from food producers who use antibiotics and from those who claim they do not. The study focused on antibiotic resistance, specifically fluoroquinolone-resistance in Campylobacter, a pathogen responsible for 2.4 million cases of food-borne illness per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study is published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives."
This study was done after Tyson and Perdue said they quit using these fluoroquinolone antibiotics after there was a push to make their use illegal, but Bayer (the company that makes it) fought it. So, "These results suggest that fluoroquinolone-resistance may persist in the food supply for a substantial period of time even after antibiotic use is discontinued," said Price. "Assuming that what we are observing are lingering resistant strains rather than the result of continued drug use, then one has to conclude that fluoroquinolone use in poultry production presents a long-term threat to people."
"Our use of medically important classes of antibiotics in food-animal production creates a significant public health concern," said the study's lead author Lance Price, a doctoral candidate and fellow at the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future. "Companies that use antibiotics foster the development of drug-resistant bacteria which can spread to the human population. Claims have been made that using antibiotics increases food safety by reducing pathogens on the meat.
And guess what else they found out that is quite interesting?
The two brands that did claim not to use antibiotics at all had the least amount of contamination - one (Eberly) at 5% and the other (Bell & Evans) at 13%.
Perdue chicken is also heavily contaminated, coming in at 43%. According to one of these stories, "the study also found that any type of Campylobacter (resistant and non-resistant strains) is highly prevalent in poultry, with at least 54% of the tested retail products from all four brands showing signs of the pathogen."
Do you have any clue as to how many people get sick from just this one pathogen every year??????
How about 2.4 million cases of food-borne illness per year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That "24-hour stomach flu" you hear about and have probably even told people you have gotten? Guess what? There is no such thing. Really. Ask your doctor. No such thing. Chances are you have been the victim of food poisoning. Most cases never even get reported because people don't know that is what happened.
Would any other industry be allowed to get away with selling contaminated and poisoned products to consumers and then blame them if they get sick?!
Oh, sorry your 2-year old got so sick. Guess you should have been a little more careful with that chicken you cooked last night.
Your little girl got sick and died. Well, that only happens to a few thousand people a year. Should have been more careful.
Some of Laura's family (including the kids) got sick eating at KFC not long after I came forward with all the things written about on this blog. She was outraged that this was allowed to go on completely legally and that no one did anything about it. I think she was even a little ticked off at me a bit because we had run sick chickens about that time. That's the time I talked about when all of us got so sick and I had to go to the doctor and wasn't allowed to tell him that we had run sick chickens without getting fired. Good thing Laura stood up and told the doctor anyway. She was really mad that day. The doctor wasn't too happy to hear about it either. He asked if that was even legal. Well, no, but since when has that stopped Tyson from doing anything?
I mean, you are dealing with a company that bribes officials, smuggles and exploits illegals, (Sorry, Pattrice and anyone else who takes offense at that word, I should have said "undocumented workers." I am still trying to remember to use the proper term for these poor people, but that is what we called them there, and when I write here I still tend to use the plant jargon a lot of the time.)
It's like the inspector said, folks, it's so bad that you might as well throw it into the toilet and eat it. I have lost the source for that quote. I read it recently and thought to myself - yeah, that's just what it's like. Hell, depending on how clean you keep your toilet, it may even be cleaner than the chicken you are putting in your mouth and the mouths of your children.
It is that bad.
I repeat. WHY do we continue to let them get away with this???!!!!!!
Well, I am not letting them get away with it anymore. Not only do I not eat that crap (and I mean that literally - where do you think all those germs come from??), but I continue to speak out publicly every day to anyone who will listen about how bad this industry has gotten. The more I work like this, the more surprised I get that there are so many people who never even question them about things like this. Why would you accept that you should have to treat your food as hazardous waste? the same food the industry and the USDA is always calling so "wholesome."
Yeah right. About as real as the stupid and completely false ad I saw about California having "happy cows." Saw that one? Like they really have their milk cows standing out in green fields cavorting around in sprinklers, being "happy." Yeah right. You want to know hard they work at making them "happy?" How much they care about that?
Try this one on for size. ABC National Rural News recently reported on a story that states that, "Australian dairy farmers are being encouraged to take a lead from the United States and use a propane flame to remove the hair from a cow's udder."
Why you might ask, would they want to take a propane torch to a cow's udder? well, it's perfectly simple, you see. It's "easier than clipping the hair."
Isn't that what everything in factory farming boils down to? What's "easier" for the company and more cost-efficient? What's more profitable?
I could go on and on. I am just kind of steamed up today. I have been doing a lot of reading lately that just really has me upset about all of this kind of thing. But, you know, it's not so much the industry that I am angry at today. It's not even the government.
It's the people who keep right on supporting all of this and thus saying that they just don't care. That they will buy and eat what they damn well please, and to hell with the consequences of it. That's the attitude that allows this industry to get away with killing your kids, folks. It's not your fault that you get sick when you eat that crap, other than a mistake in judgment, perhaps. No, the ones who are responsible for it are always "they" and "them."
Well, "they" couldn't get away with it if you would simply quit buying it. Period. It's that simple.
Don't want to feed yourself and your kids meat contaminated with fecal matter? Then don't. Do you remember me telling you that each line at our plant was allowed 3 fecal events every hour? Yep. True. And we had more than one line. And we were the smallest plant. Do you know how many chickens that translates out to per year that are legally allowed to go right on by with a big ol' smear of crap on them? Way too many! Gives a whole new meaning to the insult "Eat shit and die!" doesn't it? Don't do that to your kids. Please.
Don't think animals should be tortured? Don't support torture with your money.
Don't want the air, the water, the land, rural communities, family farmers, etc. devastated and ruined? Then quit giving them your business.
Quit making me see dead and terribly injured chickens who have fallen off trucks on the side of the road when we drive to town.
Quit making me see the tractor trailers of them sit on the plant parking lot for hours when they get backed up. They were like that yesterday. Poor babies.
I live here and see this stuff all the time. If you really saw everything I have, there is no way you would still support this industry. No way. They are criminal thugs who care for nothing more than profits. Nothing and no one. Not even you, if you are their consumer. They poison you without a care in the world. Do you really think they bat an eye at abuse of one of their workers, much less a chicken?
If you have read much of this blog you know the answer to that.
Just as you know that of them all, Tyson is the worst! Check it out yourself. You don't have to take my word for it, though I have been there and seen it all with my own eyes. I don't need experts or reports or studies. I worked in that hellhole for over a decade. I still can't believe that sometimes.
The latest insult here in this state that has been just passed by the House will give 72 hours notice before a farmer is inspected. Oh and if one of us neighbors has a problem with the factory farm down the road, you have to now file it in writing and sign it. They are tired of all of these "frivolous" complaints, you see. This, despite the fact that we have been polluting Oklahoma's water for years and they are sick of it. Tyson pretty much has just given them the big finger on it all. And Oklahoma's Attorney General, whose job it is to protect the people and is trying to do so, well they want to strip him of that little power. If you want to get the scoop on this one, my good buddy, Paul, published a great op-ed on the issue.
Okay, one last thing. And this one is important, especially if you live in California. There is an important bill that needs to be passed out there. This bill amends California’s Methods of Slaughter (Fd.&Agr.19501) law to include spent hens and small game birds. These birds were excluded from the law when other birds and rabbits were included in 1991. This bill provides for the same level of protection from inhumane slaughter methods as all other animals used for food currently receive in California. Birds who are not included under humane slaughter laws are commonly bled to death while completely conscious.
I have talked more about some of the fates that befall spent hens before. Those were the ones who had such big legs that we were ordered to break them to fit them into the shackles when we ran some at Tyson. most of the processors out there apparently are not even sending them to slaughter, though. They are just killed on the farm and rendered right there. Canada is working on the problem and thinks they have found a better way to deal with these poor hens.
Here is a good site to view the alert and get the info for contacting the proper lawmakers.
Even if you do still eat meat, dairy, and eggs, can't you just at least take just a few minutes of your time to try to make the whole process just a little more humane?
I hope so. I hardly think that anyone that calls themselves a moral and decent person would disagree with the statement that animals should not be made to suffer when there is something we can do about it.
Well, you can. Please do.
You can contact those responsible for making laws.
And then you can quit supporting this horrendous industry by refusing to give them any more of your money.
Then tell them why.