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Artificiell insemination

2011 February 25

Efter att ha läst artikeln “Djursexförbud är rent hyckleri” twittrade jag följande:

@IsakGerson: “Djursexförbud är rent hyckleri” kan bara hålla med http://j.mp/f3pdWv
@IsakGerson: Kan folk ens tänka sig hur procedurerna kring artificiell inseminiering av djur skulle tillämpas på människor? Smärtan som skulle uppstå?
@IsakGerson: Det är så absurdt att jag knappt vågar twittra om det.
@IsakGerson: Och herregud, inte för att låta som GenusNytt, men att tycka att våldtäkt är värre än tortyr och brutalt mord? #människor

Jag fick en fråga från Vidde om hur artificiell insemination av djur faktiskt går till idag. Så jag tänkte kopiera subkapitlet “A day in the life of a turkey inseminator” från boken “Eating” av Peter Singer och Jim Mason (en etikprofessor och en journalist) där de skriver om de etiska konsekvenserna av vår matkonsumtion genom att spåra maten vi köper bakåt och analysera leden. Det är en bok jag verkligen rekommenderar. Om du tror att hemskheterna i följande bara gäller där och för kalkoner, läs boken. Om du redan är vegan, läs boken. Utbildning är första steget mot befrielse. Om du funderar på att bli vegan finns guider och folk som gärna hjälper dig på t.ex. forumet vegan.nu eller sidan Go Vegan!. Här kommer kapitlet:

A day in the life of a turkey inseminator

The Turkey meat in the sandwiches Jake buys at Arby’s would come from factory farmed turkeys, reared in much the same way as chickens. The main difference is that because turkeys have been bred to have such an oversized breast, they cannot mate naturally. A few years ago we learned that the Butterball Turkey company, a division of the agribusiness giant ConAgra, needed workers for its artificial insemination crews in Carthage, Missouri. Our curiosity piqued, we decided to see for ourselves what this work really involved. The only qualification for the job seemed to be the ability to pass a drug test, so we were hired.

We spent time on both sides of the job: collecting the semen and getting it into the hen. The semen comes from the “tom house,” where the males are housed. Our job was to catch a tom by the legs, hold him upside down, lift him by the legs and one wing, and set him up on the bench on his chest/neck, with the vent sticking up facing the worker who actually collected  the semen. He squeezed the tom’s vent until it opened up and the white semen oozed forth. Using a vacuum pump, he sucked it into a syringe. It looked like half-and-half cream, white and thick. We did this over and over, bird by bird, until the syringe was silled to capacity with semen and a sterile extender. The full syring was then taken over to the hen house.

In the hen house, our job was to “break” the hens. You grab a hen by the legs, trying to cross both “ankles” in order to hold her feet and legs witrh one hand. The hens weigh 20 to 30 pounds and are terrified, beating their wings and struggling in panix. They go through this every week for more than a year, and they don’t like it. Once tou have grabbed her with one hand, you flop her down chest first on the edge of the pit with the tail end sticking up. You put your free hand over the vent and tail and pull the rump and tail feathers upward. At the same time, you pull the hand holding the feet downward, thus “breaking” the hen so that her rear is straight up and her vent open. The inseminator sticks his thumb right under the vent and pushes, which opens it further until the end of the oviduct is exposed. Into this, he inserts a straw of semen connected to the end of a tube from an air compressor and pulls a trigger, releasing a shot of compressed air that blows the semen solution from the straw and into the hen’s oviduct. Then you let go of the hen and she flops away.

Routinely, methodically, the breakers and the inseminator did this over and over, bird by bird, 600 hens per hour, or ten a minute. Each breaker “breaks” five hens a minute, or one hen every 12 seconds. At this speed, the handling of birds has to be fast and rough. It was the hardest, fastest, dirtiest, most disgusting, worst-paid work we have ever done. For ten hours we grabbed and wrestled birds, jerking them upside down, facing their pushed-up assholes, dodging their spurting shit, while breating air filled with dust and feathers stirred up by panicked birds. Through all that, we received a torrent of verbal abuse from the foreman and the others. We lasted one day.

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