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Monday Maul: Animal Abuse and Cruelty at a North Carolina Butterball Facility

Vin Paneccasio

When Reuters reported earlier this month that “sewing needles were found in food on four U.S.-bound flights … from Amsterdam,” I was reminded of the good fortune I had back in mid-February to watch a meat-industry lobbyist choke to death at 30,000 feet.

My friend Jim (not necessarily his real name) and I witnessed the incident on a flight to Washington, D.C., where we’d been invited to make the keynote presentation at a joint conference of the Project for Fewer Humans and the Association of Vegan Organ Donors.

Jim had left his copy of Marcus Aurelius Armitage‚Äôs thought-provoking book Dancing for Human Extinction at the hotel and was complaining about the “lack of substantive reading material offered on airplanes” when the guy sitting next to him handed Jim a printout of an opinion column headlined “Happy Halal Thanksgiving,” from an online publication called American Thinker.

No sooner had Jim started reading the piece than he handed it back to its owner, saying, “I can’t read this jingoistic nonsense.”

“What’s the matter with you?” the guy sitting next to him asked, rhetorically. “Pamela Geller wrote that.”

“I don’t give a shit who wrote it,” Jim told him, “those are the words of a xenophobic cretin.”

“You got a problem with patriotism?” the guy demanded.

Jim grabbed the article from his antagonist’s hands and read aloud the following passage from Geller’s pre-Thanksgiving word-tantrum: “In a little-known strike against freedom, yet again, we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter.”

“I’ve got a problem with slaughter,” Jim explained.

“Some kind of love animals, love everyone, liberal pussy, are you?” the guy asked.

“More of a socialist pussy, actually,” Jim said, “but you’re on the right track.”

“Let me tell you something,” the guy snarled, sticking a finger in Jim’s face. “Meat and military might are what fuel our great country, and you should thank me for both.”

I asked the flight attendant for three bourbons, which I poured into one cup and drank without ice, and took notes as the argument next to me continued.

“I fought for this country,” Jim’s in-flight nemesis said, “and now I help feed this country. You see, friend, I make sure America’s meat producers get what they need from the U.S. government to keep putting food on America’s tables. I make sure America’s meat producers have the legal ammunition they need to fight the extremists who want to destroy our way of life.”

“Oh, I get it,” Jim responded with subtle sarcasm. “You’re the guy who makes sure the evildoers don’t find a way to use hamburgers or turkeys as weapons of mass destruction. Well, I, too, served this country, but I’m not particularly worried about being killed by weaponized meat, because I don’t eat animals. And that’s because I’m more evolved than your average, unevolved American. So, I don’t owe you a goddamned thing, jackass.”

“I ain’t talking about those terrorists,” the guy barked, “although I wouldn’t put it past them to tamper with our precious meat supply. I’m talking about the activist-types who want to give America’s meat producers a bad name — the holier-than-thou spies who go undercover onto private property and into private businesses and shoot a bunch of video they claim depicts animal cruelty.”

“So I guess you’re not a fan of Mercy for Animals, ” Jim said, referring to the organization whose undercover investigation of animal abuse and cruelty at a Butterball facility in Shannon, North Carolina, had just made headlines.

“Let me tell you something about that so-called Butterball Abuse investigation,” the guy hissed. “It makes me sick to my stomach to see an extremist organization like Mercy for Animals using the liberal media to tarnish a great company’s reputation over a couple of stupid turkeys. As far as I’m concerned, law-enforcement officials in North Carolina arrested the wrong people. Instead of arresting those Butterball employees, they should have arrested the bastards who made that undercover video. Those are the terrorists I’m fighting.”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Jim asked the guy. “You can’t be a terrorist when your entire goddamned philosophy is based on encouraging people to live a lifestyle that doesn’t support the exploitation, torture, and murder of other species. If you ask me, the savages who can be seen in that undercover video brutalizing defenseless turkeys — not to mention the scumbags they were working for — those are the terrorists. Now, show me a bunch of turkeys terrorizing some meat-industry savages and I’ll join the terrorist turkeys.”

The flight attendant came around offering turkey sandwiches and more refreshments. As it turned out, she was offering some delicious irony, as well.

“Well, I’m not going to let a few bunny-hugging extremists dictate my way of life,” the guy next to Jim scoffed, taking a tray of food from the fight attendant. “I like a nice turkey sandwich, from time to time. And if that makes me a terrorist in your peaceful little world, than so be it.”

The guy had bit off more than he could chew long before he chomped down on the turkey sandwich, a sizable portion of which stuck in his throat, preventing the mouth-breather from doing just that.

“See, now that wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t eat animals,” Jim pointed out.

Monday Maul cartoons are created for The Daily Maul by New York-based artist Vin Paneccasio. Providing a fix for your schadenfreude jones, while spiritually rewarding, can be physically and emotionally exhausting. You can keep us alert and fairly lucid by keeping us caffeinated.


  1. Phoebe wrote:

    Now if we could just determine whether animals in factory farms are intentionally swallowing needles or otherwise booby-trapping their own flesh … that would be a wonderful thing.

    Monday, July 30, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  2. David Brensilver wrote:


    Slaughterhouse martyrdom would certainly be an interesting research topic.


    Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  3. James wrote:

    booby trapping their own flesh…Brilliant!

    Monday, July 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  4. David Brensilver wrote:


    Phoebe may very well be on to something.


    Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink
  5. Michael West wrote:

    Weaponized meat! Love that phrase..

    Monday, July 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
  6. David Brensilver wrote:

    Thanks, Michael. I’m fond of it myself!

    Friday, August 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

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