<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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, March 29, 2005

Told ya Tyson chicken was NASTY!!!!!!!! 

And here is even more proof than the multiple personal stories I have told on this blog!

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.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Easter! Or is it???? 

Today many people will gather together in celebration of the Prince of Peace. That's a good thing, as Jesus preached about love, compassion, and other wonderful things during his short life. It doesn't really matter what religion someone is to recognize that this was a very kind and compassionate person who cared for all life, especially the poor and oppressed.

I truly wonder what he would think about the way this day is celebrated now....

I think he would be horrified. When you truly give it some thought, I would think that you would have to agree. Be honest now. Do you really think he would approve of all of this suffering and death in celebration of him?????? Really???

As I have thought about what I would write this morning, I have also done a little of my regular surfing to read some of what some friends of mine have had to say on the matter. I will list those below, but first I would like to give some thoughts of my own, which can also be found at this link, complete with pictures of what it is you support and therefore condone, when you buy eggs. Join in the discussion if you like, but at the very least please make this a happy, cruelty-free Easter. Wouldn't the Prince of Peace want it that way? Wouldn't he want this day celebrated with love and compassion and joy rather than torture, death, and suffering???

This is but an excerpt of what I wrote in that discussion there, with some small changes made to change it from a discussion in my group to a post on this blog.

You see, on Easter, we do not use real eggs. We use plastic ones. This is a much happier way to spend Easter than using the "products" of a poor, tortured battery hen, with her toes clipped, her beak cut off, her feathers falling out, her feet hurting from standing on thin wire cage floors, covered in the waste of those above her, spending her life cranking out eggs every 22 hours, only to end up roughly shackled, throat slit (if she is lucky and isn't scalded alive, or worse - I read of a new device the other day that just comes out to the egg farm whereby they simply drop the "spent" hens in it and they are ground up into feed for others!), and a bunch of little bits in someone's chicken soup or a pot pie. Using eggs from one of those poor hens isn't really celebrating the hope and rebirth the holiday is supposed to be about, now is it?????

People need to be reminded now and then what it is they are supporting when they go to the store and buy eggs and dairy. Raising your own chickens or buying some eggs from someone you know well that treats their chickens properly and lovingly and doesn't throw them in the pot when they are not "productive" anymore is one thing, but supporting government-approved factory farming of battery chicken eggs is another. It's abusive and certainly not in the spirit of the holiday of Easter.

And, before anyone asks about free-range. Let me just get that out there, too. They are really no better off, and sometimes even worse. As nice as it may be for them to at least be able to walk around and flap their wings, they are also down in amongst the waste of all those thousands of other birds. They don't get to go outside in the grass, as you may think. The regulations only require "some access" to the outdoors, and it doesn't even have to be available all the time. It isn't in the winter, for instance, and most hens never even find that tiny door leading out into a tiny gravel yard. COK and others have investigated this situation thoroughly, and I have personally talked with those that have seen these operations all over the country. Ammonia burns are common, and they are still mutilated and end up as soup. Not to mention the murder of the male baby chicks, who aren't "useful" to the industry, and who are thrown away, literally.

No, if you want to use eggs for Easter and really don't want to use plastic ones, wanting the "real" thing, better find a neighbor or something and go check it out for yourself. Otherwise, how do you know what you are supporting?

Let Easter be a time of hope for everyone, regardless of species. And, let's all pledge to take a moment this morning to stop and pause for a moment in silence to acknowledge all of the suffering that is bound up in this holiday of hope and rebirth on Easter morning. Let's give these poor laboring hens just a moment of our time and reflect on what Easter means to them.

For another great perspective on Easter, check out what my friend and co-host of my groups had to say this morning here.

And there is another great piece written by a personal friend and fellow blogger named Gary over at Animal Writings.

As a part of that post he wrote he also gives another link to what he wrote last Easter that is worth mentioning.

And, last of all, I direct your attention to a great Easter e-card that I sent out to many friends and family alike. I also sent it to Gary, who also posted it on his site. I now do the same, hoping you will share it with others as well. Enjoy!
Posted by: # Virgil / 11:57 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Updates on Several Situations 

Before I start today's post, I wanted to let you know that the downloads of the radio show I did are available online now. The interview is in two parts and are found on this page:
Or you can get them directly this way:
Download mp3s of the interview: part 1 (2.7 MB) and part 2 (2.8 MB).

They even have a forum on the site to talk about shows, and of course there are a bunch of other really good interviews there, some of which I have talked about here.

I also wanted to update you and let you all know how well our new rescues are doing. It is so wonderful to finally have a happy success story, as opposed to a frantic and sad run to the vet. They are growing and crowing. They love the sunshine, too. You can tell because that is where they will always stand when we uncover them in the morning (we keep them wrapped up warm and cozy at night). I am hoping to get their house and yard started next week. I wish I could have done so already, but it is taking my back a bit longer to heal than I thought it would. I tried to do more than I should have and just made things worse, so I haven't been able to get out and get any poles set or anything else done yet. We still need to get some supplies to do that, too. A couple of very generous and wonderful people have sent a little help that should make that job a bit easier. We have to do quite a bit of work around here, not only for the current chickens here, but also for the ones that are likely to keep arriving. Sadly, the slaughter business isn't going anywhere, so we figure we really need to make sure to have the proper facilities to care for these birds when we find them. It is starting to look like we are turning into a kind of sanctuary now, what with all of these homeless animals we keep taking in. The houses and yards we already have just aren't enough, and they are aging and in need of refurbishing at the least, though we figure on building all new facilities for everyone in a better location. We will turn the current ones into temporary holding pens for rescues or those that are sick and/or injured. For the current residents, we have picked out a spot closer to the garden that is in a nice warm sunny spot and that is on a bit of a slope, which will not only help keep the yards from getting flooded again when the heavy rains come, but will also allow the nutrients to run straight down into the garden, making our job of keeping the yards clean a bit easier and carting all of that compost down to the garden much, much easier.

Speaking of the garden, we have already planted our seeds in the greenhouse! Oh, I do love to garden, so the spring is one of my favorite times of the year. To have our fresh organic veggies is worth everything we do to make that happen. There's nothing like being able to go down to the garden and pick fresh veggies for supper! My gardening work is part of why I have not written in so long, but mostly it has been because I have just been having a hard time of things lately ever since I dropped that tree on myself.

I have been taking things a bit easier lately and reading some interesting books, too. Laura used an Amazon gift certificate she earned doing surveys to get us a copy of "Animal Factories," by Jim Mason and Peter Singer. And just yesterday we finally got our own copy of "Dominion," by Matthew Scully, courtesy of a reader that knew we wanted to read it badly. Thanks again, C...!

I have also been working on some other projects, some of which I can't talk about yet. But, one thing is for sure, I haven't been just wasting time sitting around while waiting to heal up.

I have also started working through some of the terrible and violent memories that have consumed me for so long. They were causing me a lot of stress and upset, so I have started upon some quite serious therapy to deal with all of that. I am learning to put all of those bad times behind me and figure out who Virgil Butler really is. Needless to say, this hasn't been the easiest thing to do, but I am trying really hard. I have been spending quite a bit of time lately talking with others that have gone down this road. I started a private journal, which is a new thing for me to do, and I am receiving Healing Touch treatments, on top of a few other therapeutic practices. If you have never had the experience of a Healing Touch treatment, let me tell you that you are really missing out on something special. There is no way to really describe what it is like. It's one of those things you just have to experience for yourself firsthand. I can tell you that it has been very beneficial for me to do this, helping to strip away all of the built-up negative energies and replace them with positive, healing energy. I was a bit skeptical at first, but now I am totally hooked. It's just so relaxing and, well...so right. I highly recommend trying it if you can find a practitioner in your area.

I am also working on gathering comments from those people who have done showings of "Peaceable Kingdom." If you are one of those people, and especially if you did this in a rural area, shoot me off an email. I would like to hear from as many people as possible as to the different ways they did this - what worked and what didn't. I am extremely interested in showing this, but I do want it to be a success. It probably won't be in the very near future, as I have a lot of projects lined up that I am working on, but I figured that I would start gathering comments and advice to prepare for when I would be able to do this. That film was really emotional and strong. More people need to see it.

And, before I sign off today, I want to call your attention to someone I have been asked to post a link to. His name is Phil Angelides. Heard of him? If not, you will. He is running against the Terminator for governor of California. From what I have read, this is who belongs in that office. He is certainly getting a lot of support from those not too happy with Arnold. I wish him well.
Check him out here: www.Angelides.com
Good luck, Phil!

Oh yeah, one more thing. I read an article today that just astounded me. I can't say I am surprised, but I was at the very least appalled. Check out "The Uncle Tom Award." See if it doesn't find you making all sorts of faces and saying some rather colorful words. In these days, who can trust anything they see on TV anymore?

What is this world coming to? When will the American people say enough is enough and take back our country from these thugs? How much more can and will they stomach? I really do want to know.

This is why I get all my news from independent sources on the Net. (Here is the link to one such source that is run by one guy. Check him out. Subscribe to his newsletter. And support him. He works hard.) No network TV "news" for me - uh uh! I have had enough of their propaganda and lies.

I have been thinking for some time about having a new feature added to this blog. I would like to highlight other ordinary individuals who have done things like I have. People who have decided to throw caution to the wind and stand up, speak out, and try to change things - damn the costs to themselves. There are too many people nowadays that really don't think they can do anything in the face of the seemingly insurmountable powers laid out against them. It's not true, but I can see how they can come to feel that way. I used to think the same way. So, if you have done something like this or know someone who has, let me know. I want to hear about the "little people" screaming "ENOUGH!" and "NO!" and trying to bring about change, especially if they have tried using the Internet as I have to get publicity for their cause. I will feature these people here as fellow Cyberactivists in the hopes that their actions will spur others to get up off their butts and do the same.

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

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Posted by: # Virgil / 1:36 PM 0 comments Links to this post

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