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Posts Tagged ‘slaughter workers’

With things coming down to the wire as far as horse slaughter, I’ve taken some time to do a bit more reading on the issue over the past few weeks.  I have to admit, I don’t really like reading endless articles saying the same thing over and over, mostly because I find it all quite depressing.  I don’t need to be beat over the head about how horrible slaughter is or what really happens during transport, because I get it.  I have my favorite sources I look to for information and I mostly stick to those and what ends up in my emails.  If I’m writing a blog, I become a bit more masochistic and actually dig a bit deeper to see what our PSA buddies are saying.  Mostly I find it amusing, but lately it’s just kinda annoying.  Ok, it’s a whole bunch annoying, but what I find sadly funny is what they pull out as their `expert’ proof and how many of them proclaim themselves authorities, but leave their asses hung out in public. Endless fodder.  Because they have beat the GAO Report to death and nobody other than the PSAs really give it any credibility, I thought we’d look at some of their other `irrefutable proof’ today.  They truly are grasping at straws lately…..

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While not new to the slaughter issue, I’ve seen the name of Baxter Black getting kicked around a lot lately.  The PSAs just love this poseur.  After all, he wears the cowboy hat and the rest of the asstard uniform that counts for a lot in the PSA’s eyes.  If you want to be seen as an authority, jam a cowboy hat on your head and talk with an `aww shucks’ drawl and make sure to use bad grammar.  Seriously, WHAT the actual fuck makes this idiot an expert on horses and their welfare?  Oh, I can already hear the PSAs stomping their hooves and shrieking, `but he’s an actual veterinarian!’.  Actually, no he is not an actual veterinarian.  He WAS one many, many years ago, but he was never an equine vet.  He was a large animal vet mostly dealing with cattle and, I’m sure, a few PSA type horses thrown in the mix, but we all know that the majority of those types hardly provide a lot of veterinarian care for their equines.  The fact is, he ceased being a vet of any type way back in the 80’s after being `let go’ from his last job which was, according to his own bio, a `tech’ position.    He quit being a vet in 1982, which for our mathematically challenged PSAs,  means he hasn’t practiced in over 30 years.  Even then his veterinarian career lasted less than 13 yrs.  Not even half as long as many of us have actually been in the horse industry and making a good living btw.  Hardly a stellar career in horse husbandry and certainly posing his ass on a few horses and writing lame poetry does not make him any more of an expert than the city guy that paid to go on a trail ride a few times in his life.  Naturally, Black is a slaughterphile and he has never spent a single week of his lifetime making his living from working with horses exclusively.  He bases a lot of his opinions on the widely ridiculed GAO report. (http://www.tsln.com/article/20110818/TSLN04/110819970).

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Now, admittedly, Black isn’t new to the `slaughter em all’ bandwagon, but for whatever reason, he’s getting linked around a lot lately.  I guess it’s been a slow few days for their regular mouth pieces or something so it was time to dust off some of his ramblings on the subject.  Black’s actual claim to fame, such that it is, is that he’s a cowboy poet.  Unlike Slaughterhouse Sue, he can actually pen a sensible verse or two.  Because of this, he comes up with some rather interesting euphemisms for slaughter.  Now, maybe it has been used a bit before, but I had not heard of CHEER until I read one of his articles (http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2011-02-19/horse-owners-lovers-mull-over-cheer).  CHEER, is an acronym for Centers for Humane Euthanasia and Equine Recycling.  Doesn’t that sound so incredibly brilliant and amazing? I get visions of fat happy ponies romping in sweet clover and drinking out of crystal clear streams. It almost sounds like the Rainbow Bridge right here on earth!  I bet every single horse gets a kiss on the nose and a hug before they are sent over that bridge too!  While this all sounds a lot like the United Horseturd’s concept of having a rescue, college, slaughter emporium on one property, as near as I can find, CHEER seemed to be the original brain fart of Black’s.  He wanted us to think of CHEER as a `boutique abattoir’ and if you were uncomfortable eating your own horse, you could swap with a buddy.  So much awesome to contemplate!  If you don’t want to eat the toxic waste at all, you could even donate it to another country like Africa or North Korea.  Quite the humanitarian, Mr. Black is!  It lead me to extrapolate on that and wonder why not save ourselves a lot of grief and ship all this tainted meat over to countries that have a lot of oil or other things we need.  It would save us starting all these wars once they are all suffering and dying from strange maladies brought on by eating our companion animals.  Black goes on to say the tired old line of nobody should have a say in what somebody else eats.  He’s actually right.  I don’t really care what anybody else eats.  What I do care about is how you treat that animal, be it a pig, chicken or horse, while it is still living.  Perhaps Black realized at some point that his stumping for slaughter was going to hurt his bottom line as far as audio sales and tickets to his little talks as he seems to have not had a lot to say in print on the issue for a while.  That’s a real shame as he is fun to pick apart.

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As most of you are aware, PSAs pretty much refuse to listen to anybody that they identify as anti-slaughter.  They don’t like being confronted with truth and fact and often find themselves at a distinct advantage in a battle of wits.  However, while I was looking around I found some interesting YouTube videos linked on a social networking page that perhaps they will address (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfzX4Fx5xuE).  I’ve linked the first video in a series of three that feature an actual kill buyer talking about his profession as well as transporting horses. This KB is ashamed enough of himself, that his face has been blurred out of the video, but he otherwise lays it all out and is admittedly not too proud of his chosen profession.  There is no graphic footage in any of the videos, but they are worth watching if you feel a need to hear it straight from the source.  He talks about poking eyes out of horses to calm them down, wiring their mouths shut to transport, horrific injuries, and the scams they ran to buy up horses cheap, telling people whatever they need to hear to get those horses.  He even chuckles at the one lady who mistakenly sold her horse to a KB and when she tried to get him back at a profit to the KB, because she SAW him in their pens, they lied to her and ran her off.  It was her horse and his buddies thought it quite funny even though she left in tears.  They show some notes that owners had attached to their horse’s papers upon selling because they thought they were going to real homes.  These weren’t exactly the mythical unwanted horses we hear that KBs rescue and return to dignity all the time.  These were naive people that got scammed and never imagined that this nice man buying a horse for his kid was actually a kill buyer.  He mentions about filling loads at all costs, including one KB that even pulled the saddle off his favorite horse to make up a full load.  Pretty much any horror story you’ve ever heard about kill buyers and transport for slaughter is confirmed by this guy.  Admittedly, the video is a few years old, but as we know from organizations such as Animal Angels (http://www.animalsangels.org/) it is still happening every day.  It is also interesting to note that this interview took place during a time when domestic slaughter was still available and horses were shipping in country.  The simple fact that this KB doesn’t know the difference between a hock, ankle or knee pretty much tells you about the `horsemanship’ of people that choose his profession and this guy claims he started out as a farrier.  I’m sure none of you will be surprised to hear that hardly a single PSA made a comment on these videos other than they were `old’.  You know, the same PSAs that like to trot out a 23 yr old quote our of context that Wayne Pacelle makes as undeniable proof that the real agenda behind the antis is to wipe out all domestic pet ownership.

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The fact is that the PSAs tend to look to people like Slaughterhouse Sue, who doesn’t even own horses or like them, and Douchebag Duquette, failed trainer and industry joke, as their leaders.  They allow these people to represent them and speak for them.  That, alone, should be enough to disregard anything they have to say about the `industry’ or horse welfare.  I mean, it’s not like they have actual successful people with international reputations like George Morris or Beezie Madden out there stumping for slaughter.  You know, the people that actually make a really good living with horses.  You don’t get any Nick Zitos or Graham Motion type people out there telling you to slaughter horses either.  I have even noticed a few PSAs that claim to be involved in racing, but a quick Equibase search on their animals and credentials will soon reveal that they too, are bottom feeders in their chosen fields.  Do you see a common thread? Which comes first, the respect of the animal or the success?  I guess the answer depends on whether or not you believe in karma.  Nobody that truly loves horses would fight so hard for such a horrible death and refuse to look at any other option than slaughter as a solution to current problems.  Perhaps if they would take a seat and let the rest of us get on with things, the majority of our time and money could go towards addressing neglect and abuse rather than this never-ending battle to take the path of least resistance.  If they cared as much as they claim, they would choose to be part of the solution rather than the biggest part of the problem.  IF…….

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One of the most contentious issues for many animal welfare advocates is what happens after a horse is hit with a penetrating captive bolt or bullet.  The PSAs will tell you that the horse is basically brain-dead as soon as the bolt or bullet hits them, while anti-slaughter people have some real concerns.  It is a major issue because it speaks to the whole pain and suffering issue.  If we are to believe Slaughterhouse Sue and her tribe of the uninformed, horses sent to slaughter spend their days relaxing in bucolic surroundings with ample food and care.  When their time comes to end their days on this earthly plane, they are gently ushered into a pristine room and are rendered senseless before they know what is going on. They are handled all the way through by caring and compassionate people and they likely have harp music playing softly in the background throughout the process.  There is no dispute that they are bled out aka exsanguinated while they are still technically alive, but the PSAs will say the horses will not be `aware’.  Other than the blood and gore aspect, it almost sounds like a fairy tale.  It reminds me of  the parent that tells their child that the family dog went to live on a distant relative’s farm when they actually had it put to sleep.  They will tell you what they think you need to hear so you’ll be ok with it.  Unfortunately for Suey, animal welfare advocates are not children and are well aware that the picture she paints is anything but the truth.


It would seem our PSAs are, once again, confused.  This is hardly surprising as they normally eschew any facts, research or data that does not support their misguided mission.  While there can be some movement of a body after brain death occurs, PSAs have been quite unable to distinguish that from purposeful movement.  One of the main ways you can tell if actual death has occurred is eye response.  Even when a horse is euthanized under ideal circumstances any competent vet will check the eye for response before considering his job complete.  Simply, if a horse can still blink when you move your finger towards its eye, it is not yet dead and still aware.  A dead horse will not be able to look around, get to its feet nor will it be able to aim a kick at somebody.  While there may be a few flickering breaths, a dead or senseless horse will not display rhythmic breathing.  All of these things have been recorded and documented in the very Canadian slaughter-houses that Wallis plans to model her empire on.  Not a single horse was checked for insensibility.  I have linked it before, but if you need a reminder you can check out this link:

http://defendhorsescanada.org/investigations/chambers-of-carnage 

If the footage is too disturbing, I suggest you read the indexes which will give you a listing of horses that were not cleanly stunned and what occurred after.  It should be noted that in these instances a .22 rifle was used to knock the animals down. Many of the animals listed were very aware and able to feel pain and fear. If you recall, Temple Grandin has outlined that 100% of animals at slaughter must be rendered insensible prior to hoisting. For the mathletically challenged among the PSA crowd, that means even one horse is too many.

Since Slaughterhouse Sue and her band of buffoons keep telling us that administering a kill shot with either a captive bolt or rifle is so easy, I’m wondering why it goes so wrong in these slaughter plants.  It mainly doesn’t go right due to placement issues.  Horses are typically brought into the kill box unrestrained.  They move their heads around a lot which makes it nearly impossible to place the bullet or bolt correctly.  There is a relatively small area on a horse’s head that must be hit accurately and at the proper angle in order to effectively render the horse unconscious.  For bigger horses that enter the kill box it becomes even more difficult to be at the proper angle to knock them down in one shot. In cases where a captive bolt is used, it is recommended that the horse’s head be restrained and the strength of the cartridge must be appropriate for the size of the horse.  As we know, they do not use head restraints for horses in slaughter houses as they are considered inhumane and, at the present time, the animals are not haltered and held for killing as Temple Grandin has suggested.  That would not be cost-effective as far as labor or time when they have a target of processing one horse every two minutes.

After I wrote one of my initial blog entries about Rockville,  there was a lot of whining and finger-pointing when I mentioned they types of workers that a slaughter plant usually employs and the effects on a community.  While most ranchers, hunters, sportsmen are quite capable of killing an animal and dressing it out a few times a year, have you ever thought about what kind of person could stand there and kill animals, all day, every day?  Thankfully I’m not the only person that wonders that.  University of Windsor Criminology professor Dr. Amy Fitzgerald wondered the same thing and completed a study linking slaughterhouses to violent crime using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report database, census data, and arrest and offence reports from 581 U.S. counties from the years 1994 to 2002.  Her findings showed support for the `Sinclair Hypothesis’, which suggests the propensity for violent crime is increased by work that involves the routine slaughter of other animals.  I will link the full report with all the research data as well as a summary article for those that don’t want to read it all.  It was a very involved study.  In short, Fitzgerald found that with an average sized facility (175 employees) the number of arrests will increase 2.24 and reports 4.69.  The larger the facility, the worse the problem.  Those may not sound like big numbers, but add that to an extremely small community like Rockville, Missouri. Remember, this was a study on VIOLENT crime.

In doing her study, Dr. Fitzgerald controlled such factors as new residents moving into a community once the facilities open, high numbers of young men and immigrant workers.  Yup, there is that dreaded `I’ word the PSAs got their panties in a wad over.  Immigrant.  “Some residents started to recognize that crime rates were going up and started complaining, and the SLAUGHTERHOUSE COMPANIES were quick to blame the immigrant labor pool they were relying on” is what Fitzgerald said. She compared slaughterhouse communities to those communities that hosted comparable industries aka dangerous, repetitive work not involving the killing of animals.  There was no rise in crime in those communities and in some cases, the crime rates dropped. More studies will be needed to figure out if the workers are committing the crimes and why it is going up.  The questions that researchers have is whether working in a slaughter-house desensitizes workers to killing or is that type of work attracting less sensitive people to begin with.  I don’t think it’s a huge leap to surmise that anybody that loves horses is not going to end up working in a slaughter-house.  I’m sure the PSAs will puff their chests out and tell us all that they could and they love horses too which is complete and utter bullshit.  They may have their fragile egos tied up in their horses, but you don’t love them if you could stand and kill hundreds of them a day or even watch.  Don’t forget, we aren’t talking about old, sick or infirm animals that you would be putting out of their misery.  You would be killing young, healthy animals that struggle to survive in the kill box. If you still think you could do that, I don’t want you living anywhere near me or my loved ones.

So, that’s the scientific explanation.  What about hearing from the actual work themselves? I feel that their own words are more powerful, so here are some quotes from workers that worked on the kill floor processing hogs. I don’t see how it would be the least bit different for horses, if not worse.  The source is linked at the bottom of this blog. I strongly suggest people take the time to read it.  These are the words of the people who couldn’t continue killing animals.  What does it take to be able to do this as your career?

“When you’re standing there night after night, digging that knife into these hogs, and they’re fighting you, kicking at you, trying to bite you – doing whatever they can to try and get away from you – after a while you don’t give a shit. You’re just putting in your time. And then it gets to the point where you’re at a daydream stage. When you can think about everything else and still do your job. You become emotionally dead.”

“So I go to their supervisor, a USDA veterinarian, and tell him workers are being hurt by live hogs…He’d be like, “Hey, I’m coming down.” And he’d tell everyone in advance. The main foreman would tell me the vet was coming down, then he’d crank up the stunners, walk around picking up pipes, and warning everybody, “Whatever you do, don’t use no pipes, the government man is coming down.” The vet would look around and say, “I don’t see no live hogs.” After that, he’d tell anyone who complained, “Hey, I’ve been down there, I’ve seen it. There’s nothing wrong with them hogs.”

“[The managers would] say, “That’s just muscle reaction, nerves. It’s not alive.” I’d say, “Then why’s the damn hog trying to bite me? Just how stupid do you think I am?”

“My wife…couldn’t take the bitching any more. I’d blow up at the drop of a hat, come home every night and find something to complain about, take my frustrations from work out on my family.”

“Today, if somebody gave me a choice of going without a job or working for [the slaughterhouse], I’d go without a job. I’d mow lawns, fix cars. I’d do anything before I’d do that again.”

I don’t know about everybody else, but I think the sources of this information are all pretty credible.  Slaughterhouse Sue and the consortium of ignorance will discredit and minimize every single fact that does not further their agenda.  People need to realize that Suzy lives in  sparsely populated constituency whose numbers are rumored to be mostly made up by her inbred clan.  The only thing this creature has been successful at is pumping out kids at an alarming rate.  As an animal welfare advocate I want these issues addressed.  If I lived in one of the communities that she wants to host a slaughter plant I would DEMAND it.  So far the only thing I’ve seen from her is lies and chicanery.

http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/14571870/1006507525/name/Fitzerald+et+al.+2009.+Slaughterhouses+and+Spillover+Effect.pdf

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/809521–probing-the-link-between-slaughterhouses-and-violent-crime

http://www.animalwritings.com/2008/06/interviews-with-slaughterhouse-workers.asp

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