USA: Pigs To The Slaughter – What Man Will Do To Intelligent, Sentient Beings.

Pigs to the Slaughter

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By Leighton Woodhouse

On April 15, 2020, four weeks after the first American city was locked down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a gruesome experiment was performed. The experimenters filled a trailer, specially fitted with heaters capable of bringing the temperatures inside to lethal levels, with pigs, and turned the heat on. The experimenters wanted to know how long it would take for the pigs to die. The answer, for some of them, was over an hour.

The test was designed to determine whether roasting pigs alive was an acceptable way to kill them. The result, for now, was no. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s standard for the acceptable mass extermination of livestock in an emergency situation is 95% mortality within an hour. The test had fallen slightly short of that marker, killing only 90% of the pigs in that time frame. So the experimenters decided to make the process even more “humane” by adding steam to the process.

Two days later, they conducted a second test in the same trailer, with another group of pigs. This time, the trailer was equipped with a steam generator. This did the trick: All of the pigs died inside of an hour. The pork industry now had their AVMA-approved method for mass killings of their surplus hogs.

The improvised death chamber was the pork industry’s solution to a crisis that had befallen the entire meat industry, across all its sectors. At slaughterhouses all over the country, workers were catching COVID-19 and being forced off the disassembly line.

For a little while, slaughterhouse operators had tried to ignore the problem. A worker for Tyson Foods in Arkansas who was hospitalized with COVID-19 told me about how workers at his poultry processing plant were expected to come in sick. Managers would lie about how many cases had broken out in the facility, he said; workers would be told there were fewer than 10, then go home and see on the evening news that there were hundreds. The company had put some safeguards in place at his plant to prevent the spread of the virus, but they were cosmetic. Partitions were put up between workers on the line, but not between workers standing directly across from each other. Employees had to pass through a temperature check scanner as they entered the building, but on weekends, nobody was there to pull workers off whose temperatures were too high. The machine would just keep beeping as sick, symptomatic workers walked inside. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the meatpacking industry was lobbying the Trump administration to weaken the existing safety regulations for workers.

When workers developed cases of COVID that killed them or landed them in the hospital, leaving the plant short staffed, instead of slowing production, companies like Tyson just forced the remaining workers to work faster. In some facilities, line speeds were increased, thanks to a Trump administration waiver on line speed regulations, which made it even harder for workers to socially distanceA worker at a second Tyson plant told me that almost every employee there got COVID. He said he saw at least an accident a week as workers rushed to keep up production with inadequate staff. He saw one maintenance worker lose a finger while changing out a broken piece of machinery.

But the industry still couldn’t keep up with the COVID-induced labor shortage. Magaly Liccoli, the founder of Venceremos, a group that advocates for poultry workers, told me she had never in her career seen so many workers die in such a short period of time. In April, a single pig slaughterhouse in South Dakota was the biggest COVID-19 hot spot in the country. One study estimated that between meatpacking employees and the people they spread the virus to in the communities surrounding the plants, 6% to 8% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. originated in slaughterhouses. Eventually, so many workers got sick or died that slaughterhouses had to pause their operations, creating a glut of live animals in the supply chain. “The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson’s chairman of the board wrote in a full-page New York Times ad.

By the time President Trump used the Defense Authorization Act to order slaughterhouses to reopen at the end of April, the swine slaughter industry was operating at just a little over 50% capacity. (Even after reopening shuttered plants, short staffing left the plants operating at severely reduced capacity.) This meant that hog farms, already facing reduced consumer demand due to restaurant closures, had hundreds of thousands of slaughter-ready animals with nowhere to go.

Pigs on factory farms are already so densely concentrated that they barely have space in their pens to move around. At the same time, the entire industrial process is designed to grow them as quickly as possible, through breeding, diet, and forced inactivity. With nowhere to send the pigs for slaughter, it was only a matter of days before they would outgrow the tiny spaces they were confined in. The industry needed a way to kill them all, and quickly.

Continued on next page.

4 thoughts on “USA: Pigs To The Slaughter – What Man Will Do To Intelligent, Sentient Beings.”

  1. Thank you so much as always, Mark. (Why is it that the cruelest people – anag farmers and execs – are also the MOST cowardly and whiny? Who’s the victim?)

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  2. Thanks Mark. I failed to read Matt Johnsons and DXE FB page until now, having myself relocated to Ireland with new device and cant login to FB! Will forward this post to other social media, this cannot be let go under the radar else it will become the casual “norm” for any event eg.no ammo for bolt gun, lost keys! In the report the torturous deaths are being described as a Depopulation and this really does smack of Auschwitz. I cry in despair at the cold calculations. Please run an update on Matt Johnsons trial and where he is being held so that we may write letters of support to him. Thanks Di Donnelly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I just received this email with more detail, it references the following link, with a message from Matt:

      https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSewmlouYweqeszzTywfv2sqoH6s9_3Fy2Uw97wjRu_-PyqTDw/viewform

      “I’m heading to Iowa later this week to visit my family for possibly the last time in a while. Later this month, I start a felony trial where I’m facing up to 8 years in prison for investigating Iowa’s largest “pork” producer and rescuing a sick piglet named Gilly.

      It happened in the spring of last year amid widespread COVID outbreaks at slaughterhouses nationwide. An employee whistleblower tipped us off about Iowa Select Farms — unable to send pigs to slaughter — using a gruesome mass kill method called “ventilation shutdown” or VSD. Thousands of pigs were loaded into a shed, the vents were sealed off, and heat and steam were pumped inside to kill them in an agonizing, slow death. With a team of investigators, I helped capture the horrific process on camera and sent it to the media.

      The exposé garnered support from millions of people, but the authorities in Iowa decided to prosecute me instead of the animal-abusing company. And Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds stood by the factory farms too. Less than 2 weeks after the investigation was publicized, Governor Reynolds signed Iowa’s third ag-gag law, creating a new crime called “food operation trespass” which I was later charged under.

      But you know what? I consider it a blessing in disguise.

      My trial now has the opportunity to challenge the constitutionality of ag-gag laws and establish a precedent for a new wave of anti-ag-gag legislation. Imagine if instead of covering up animal cruelty, our laws gave ordinary people the right to see inside these places, and even the right to rescue sick and suffering animals. That’s what is at stake in this trial. And that’s why I want to ask you…
      Will you join me in Iowa for this groundbreaking trial? Sign up here to register for court support during my trial and get important updates about the event.
      Whether you’re supporting in person or online, stay tuned for more updates and ways you can help.

      Thank you for your support.

      Matt”

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  3. Hi, Di, I received this email from DxE a few days ago, it indicates Matt’s trial will be in a few weeks, I hope this is helpful; visiting DxE might also provide information as the trial date nears:

    “The odds were stacked thoroughly against Gilly, literally from the day she was born. As tragic as the life of a typical pig in a factory farm is, it was considerably worse in the spring of 2020.

    As society came to grips with the new reality of a global pandemic, the brutal, profit-driven engine that is animal agriculture chugged ever forward. Slaughterhouse outbreaks spread like wildfire in unsanitary, close-quarter working environments. Infected workers were swiftly replaced by others, until eventually, there simply weren’t enough people healthy and desperate enough to maintain business-as-usual.

    They had nowhere to send the pigs.

    By now, you’ve probably heard about the brutal reality of “ventilation shutdown” faced by hundreds of thousands of “market-ready” pigs across the country. What you may not be aware of is how the supply chain disruptions impacted the smallest of victims. Under normal circumstances, piglets with a certain severity of illness or injuries are routinely killed, their market value not justifying the cost of their care. In May 2020, with the toll of COVID-19 peaking, the situation was even more grim. At Iowa Select Farms, piglets who were not “perfect” – showing any indication of a minor infection, injured leg, or really any ailment at all – were to be killed with a zephyr gun that would send a bolt to their head.

    When DxE investigators Linda Cridge and Matt Johnson found Gilly, she had a fever, wounds on her legs, and a facial infection later determined to be Streptococcus bacteria.

    She would have never stood a chance. So we rescued her.

    Courageous DxE investigators, supported by thousands of people like you, carried her out of that hellhole, got her to the vet, and brought her to her forever sanctuary home. For a few weeks it looked like she might not make it, but she pulled through and is doing well today.

    In return, Matt and Linda were charged with felony burglary.

    With Matt’s trial less than three weeks away, Gilly stands as an ambassador of both the barbaric reality of the world as it is, and a ray of hope for what it can become. The people of Iowa will soon decide if rescuing animals is a crime, or simply the right thing to do. And as we prepare for our first trial of 2022, I am grateful that you are there with us along the way.

    Thank you,
    Almira”

    Like

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