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Please note that this episode originally broadcast on March 27th, 2020.
Coming to you via Skype and audio recording/broadcasting technology in this age of COVID-19, to start this episode, we discuss how we are doing since the City of Vancouver and the country of Canada has declared a state of emergency this past week. The Vancouver Co-op Radio station itself has no humans in it at this time, but we are still here to bring you up-to-date news and discussions on what is happening locally and globally with regards to animal advocacy issues.
7th Year Anniversary of the Death of Former Hallmark Chicken Slaughterhouse Worker Bao Min Cheng
This week marked the 7th year anniversary of the death of Bao Min Cheng, a former slaughterhouse worker at the Hallmark chicken plant on Pandora Street here in Vancouver. Mr. Cheng suffered a fatal heart attack after working a 13 hour shift and 70 hour work weeks in the slaughterhouse at the age of 42 years old.
For our first segment today, our guest co-host Meghan Beattie, who is also the founder and organizer of the local Vancouver Chicken Save group, sheds some light about the background of what happened to Mr. Cheng on March 22nd, 2013. She also discusses her history of interactions with the slaughterhouse manager who she engages with at the weekly chicken vigils at the slaughter plant. Meghan has been attending the Hallmark slaughterhouse for years now, to bear witness at the atrocities that happen just behind the alleyway on Hastings Street.
Slaughterhouse workers are often undocumented migrant workers who speak little to no English, and facilities such as these, in Canada and abroad, invite the vulnerable to work in these positions that violate basic human rights, as they know that there will be no protest by the workers.
For now, during the COVID-19 crisis, the Vancouver Chicken Save vigils are on hold. However, when things resume to normal, anyone is welcome to join the group to bear witness to the suffering of the chickens arriving to the slaughterhouse, and you can find out the regular vigil times on the group’s Facebook page.
Justin Reineke, Former Farm and Slaughterhouse Worker, Exposes the Secrets of the Industrial Farming and Slaughter Industry in an Age of Animal-Derived Pandemics
For our feature interview, we have an incredible story from behind the lines of industrial animal farming as we have seldom heard before. Justin Reineke joins us on this show.
Justin is a former long-time worker in the hog and chicken farming industries in Canada, who, only 3 years ago (after watching the documentary film “What the Health“) turned not only vegan but into a dedicated animal activist who now uses his in depth knowledge of the standard practises of the industrial farming and slaughter industries to reach the hearts and minds of the public by honestly discussing the way we treat animals, and by exposing the truth from his past experiences.
In this show (a special extended podcast), Justin shares exclusive behind-the-scenes first-hand knowledge of what it is like to be a farm worker raising and slaughtering tens of thousands of animals per day. He takes us through all of the standard duties of a worker on any typical industrial hog farm in North America (or beyond), explaining in detail the gamut of practises against animals that are necessary to run these mega-farming businesses to turn a profit for a wage.
These practises include: being a “boar stud” (collecting semen from a male pig), artificially inseminating the sows, the 2-3 month gestation period in cramped and confined metal stalls, the farrowing/birthing practises, selection for slaughter, and transport to slaughter. These practises are as far from natural as anyone could imagine.
In the birthing process, as an 18-year old teenaged boy employed in this industry, Justin also tells us how he helped give life to thousands of piglets and then proceeded to vaccinate them, castrate them, cut their tails off and clip their teeth – all standard practises that are done all without anesthetic, and without any proper medical training. (Justin was a high school drop out.) The chemicals from the vaccinations and cleaning supplies get aerated onto neighbouring farmlands, destroying the health of both the environment and its human inhabitants.
Not withstanding the torturous practises towards the animals, the slaughterhouse workers themselves bear a brunt of pain and extreme health and psychological issues that they can never leave behind at the factory farm or slaughterhouse doors. Justin tells us about typical human rights dangers such as the long work hours, repetitive motions that lead to ongoing bodily injuries, the psychological trauma of having to torture and murder thousands of innocent beings for hours on end everyday, and not having the state of mind nor bravery to speak up against any violations against the humans or animals themselves. After all, they are here to feed Canadians, and this is how it’s “meant to be”.
Extreme confinement of the animals and filth in the factory farms are common and standard conditions, as well, that come with the business of exploiting these animals to turn a profit. We know that it is because of dirty and cramped conditions such as these that zoonotic diseases and pandemics have spread in the past. Think ebola, salmonella, H1N1, the avian bird flu, and now, the coronavirus known as COVID-19.
Listen in to find out more about how these diseases spread, and become an informed consumer when it comes to making food choices and voting with your knowledge and your dollar. Choose either to purchase these “food” products, or refuse to support corporate industries that cause great harm to human health and the health of the planet, and exploit 72 billion animals each year.