This is difficult. What I’m about to relate to you disturbs me deeply, and I hope it will disturb you as well, because it should. If it doesn’t, I really don’t want to know you.
I was going through my news reader this morning and clicked on a link at one of my favorite local sites, BlueNC, and read this post.
A state agriculture official leaked information about a raid on a Butterball turkey farm in Hoke County last month to company officials six days before the raid, according to a search warrant released Wednesday. [snip] … the animal rights group Mercy for Animals provided authorities with video of employees kicking and stomping birds, dragging them by their wings and necks and throwing turkeys around.
Who’s worse: Agriculture Commissioner Troxler or Labor Commissioner Berry? Neither seems to have any interest in accountability or competence.
Nothing really that unusual on the surface, as any thinking resident of this state knows how corrupt our politicians – especially this most recent crop of Republicans – has historically been. But something bothered me about this, so I clicked through to a couple of the links embedded in the text.
One link took me to a news item, posted at WRAL-TV, the source of the above quoted text, which provide a bit more information:
… The group [Mercy for Animals] said one of its members worked at the farm for three weeks and collected the hidden-camera video.
Authorities searched telephone records last week after learning that Dr. Sarah Mason tipped off a veterinarian for Butterball about the raid on Dec. 23, a search warrant states. Mason is director of animal health programs in the Poultry Division of the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
A Butterball manager called Hoke County prosecutors on Dec. 23 to ask about rumors of a raid on the farm, and he later told them that his information came from Goldsboro veterinarian Dr. Eric Gonder, according to the search warrant. Gonder then implicated Mason.
The alleged leak occurred hours after Hoke County authorities called agriculture department officials for guidance on searching the Shannon farm and to see if anyone from the department wanted to inspect the turkeys, the warrant states.
That’s just not good. Public officials charged with enforcing, among other things, standards of decency within our food system should not EVER be informing those they oversee about upcoming inspections, or raids.
To be fair, as on commenter on the WRAL site noted, “maybe this official called the vet for information on what to look for in a raid or to see if the vet would go with them on the raid or should there be a raid at all based on the video?”
That’s when I noticed a link on the WRAL page, labelled: Undercover turkey farm video (warning: graphic video). Don’t view the video unless you’re ready to be very, very angry. Here’s a bit of the text posted with it.
After viewing the undercover footage, Dr. Sara Shields, research scientist, poultry specialist and consultant in animal welfare, said, “Turkeys are fully capable of feeling pain, fear, stress and of suffering, and the way they are treated in the video is clearly abusive.”
Dr. Debra Teachout, a practicing veterinarian with experience in farmed-animal welfare, agrees, stating, “The birds are not living a life remotely worth living. Their world is full of fear, distress, pain, injury and illness as witnessed by this video. A culture of blatant and severe animal mistreatment has been allowed to flourish unchecked, and for that reason, this facility should be shut down immediately.”
I’ve got a pretty strong stomach, and I’ve viewed some pretty bad things, both in person and via media over the years, but what I saw on that video really got to me. You see, I have a problem with mean people, blatant assholes, and bullies. I suffered for an extended number of years at the hands of bullies when I was a kid. When I see something large – be it human or another species – picking on or abusing something smaller and less able to defend itself for no good reason, there’s this invisible switch inside my head that gets nudged a little bit in the opposite direction.
In the normal position, that switch keeps me relatively civilized, peaceful, and even downright compassionate, but the few times in my life when that switch has been flipped, I turn into a mean, violent, murderous monster, ready to beat the living shit out of those who deserve it, and the people I saw in the turkey video definitely deserve it.
Right now I’d like nothing better to mete out a bit of good old-fashioned justice and abuse them for a little while. Maybe drag them around by their arms or legs until the limbs pop out of joint and the flesh begins to tear. Or perhaps whack them repeatedly over the head with a heavy lead pipe until all they can do is lie there in a pile of their own blood and excrement, twitching involuntarily on the way to a slow painful death. If it’s good enough for an animal bred to be eaten, that spends it’s entire life in a crowded factory farm, to be abused on it’s way to death, it’s certainly good enough for the abuser.
Yes, I do have a violent temper, but unlike the dysfunctional individuals I saw in that undercover video, I’m not inherently mean. You see, I love animals, and small children, old and infirm people. When I see a frightened child, puppy, or chicken, I don’t have any desire to kick it, beat it, or otherwise molest it, I want to comfort it.
I eat meat, and I make no apologies for it, but I try to appreciate the life that once inhabited my meal and feel some respect for the sacrifice of that life that maintains my strength. Being human carries an obligation not to act like a fucking demon or a psychopath, and I hate – yes, absolutely HATE – anyone who inflicts unnecessary pain and suffering on another living being for the cheap, animalistic thrill of it.
People who do things like that are not people, not humans, not members of my species. They are some sort of mutant, or a throwback to our darker, less evolved ancestors. The saddest irony of it all is that the people I know personally who would behave like this are the first ones through the church doors on Sunday morning, the one’s who are first to claim a ‘personal’ relationship with Jesus. How is it that a godless atheist like me can have more compassion for other living things than people who so loudly proclaim their Christian righteousness? Somebody please explain that mystery to me? I do not understand?
Let me explain something to you assholes. Jesus would never forgive you for knowingly abusing another life, of any species. That’s not how it works you morons! Once you know better, you aren’t allowed to do the mean stuff for the hell of it anymore. Anyone who claims they don’t know better than to pick on defenseless animals in a cage is metally retarded and ought not be freely walking the public streets. We have social institutions that are supposed to both protect the rest of us from you and try to help you with your problem.
And that brings us back to where we started from at the top of this post. You see, most of the social institutions that should exist to isolate or rehabilitate these people can’t do their jobs, thanks to the tax hating, government killing, greedy bastards in charge of our lawmaking.
Government agencies charged with policing things like this are so underfunded that they can’t afford the manpower to investigate these crimes. Our jails are so full of non-violent “offenders”, we don’t have the space or the resources to prosecute and punish the real criminal sociopaths among us. Most of them end up as elected officials instead of in prison where they belong.
Why do I let evil shit like this get to me so much? I guess I don’t really have a choice in the matter. I see injustice, I want to fix it. I see evil, I want to stop it. I see the defenseless being abused, I want to stomp a hole in the abuser so deep he (or she) will never consider such insidious behavior ever again.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going outside to watch my flock of chickens, and try to calm down a little bit.