For my part, I will do my best to pick myself back up off the ground and get right back on the path we were walking down together and continue to do what I can to help heal this world and do whatever I can to protect and save those who are hurting as soon as I can. I am just a naturally-born healer with too big of a heart for my own good, and I don't always save the victims who come to me, though I do my best. I will miss him terribly, of course, and I can't imagine a
life without him in it, but I will never be completely alone, even though it may feel that way at this moment. He told me of his intention for having his spirit watch over me if this happened, and he did expect it to, although perhaps not so soon.
He found great inspiration in discovering how many people there were out there who truly cared about beings other than themselves, especially the innocent animals. But he still felt tormented and was never quite able to find the peace I was trying to help him find. He has that now. I just wish he hadn't had to die to do so.
I am still in a bit of shock, but I thought I should post this here, as the news is starting to make its way throughout the movement. You all deserve to know and hear it from me.
Keep fighting the fight, and never shut up. That's what he wanted.
Peace and love to you all--
Oh Lord I had no idea he was that sick!!
United Poultry Concerns
Virgil Butler, Ex-Tyson Slaughterhouse Voice for Chickens, has Died
December 15, 2006
It is with profound sorrow that United Poultry Concerns announces the untimely death of Virgil Butler. Virgil died during the night in his car in front of his home where he lived with his partner, Laura Alexander.
Virgil was a Tyson chicken slaughterhouse worker turned activist. In testimony given through PETA in January 2003, Virgil Butler documented the horrific treatment of chickens that he witnessed every night while working at the Tyson chicken slaughterhouse in Grannis, Arkansas from 1997 to 2002. He changed his life completely, speaking out boldly on behalf of chickens and against the terrible abuse they suffer, at considerable risk to himself in a region dominated by Tyson Foods.
In 2002, Virgil was a keynote speaker at UPC’s Forum in Norfolk, Va. where he spoke brilliantly and unforgettably about “Inside Tyson’s Hell: Why I Got Out of the Chicken Slaughtering Business.” (Virgil’s VHS presentation can be ordered by going to http://www.upc-online.org/fall04/videos.htm.)
Virgil’s detailed account of what goes on inside chicken slaughter plants has been an indispensable contribution to animal advocacy organizations working to reduce the suffering of chickens and promote a compassionate lifestyle.
United Poultry Concerns will publish a Memorial to Virgil who with Laura Alexander, his partner and Good Angel, is featured in a front-page interview “Slaughterhouse Worker Turned Activist” in the Fall 2004 issue of Poultry Press (http://www.upc-online.org/fall04/virgil.htm).
Of their committed lives, Virgil and Laura wrote, “We are a team. We do everything together. We changed our diet. We justcouldn’t look at a piece of meat anymore without seeing the sad, tortured face that was attached to it some time in the past.”
Laura told UPC today that Virgil was himself “a very tormented man. He could not find peace on this planet.”
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don't just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
Support United Poultry Concerns! To donate please visit http://www.upc-online.org/donate.htm
United Poultry Concerns
...Laura...thank you for letting us know. You are not alone and I am so so sorry...this is a very big loss for us in the AR movement, as you and Virgil have been such an inspiration to us all.....I can hardly believe it.
I had the absolute wonderful privilege of meeting Virgil and Laura at AR 2005 in Los Angeles. Let me tell you....Virgil made people absolutely awestruck with his words and his spirit. I will never forget the night that he was honored by the group as a whole. I never saw such a humble person...so kind...so dedicated. He had EVERYONE in tears when he told his story. And he was so humble. He looked down and had tears in his eyes...and he said that he looked at what he was doing now for the animals as "atonement" for the years that he worked for Tyson...or something to that effect. And then he thanked Laura and gave her credit for helping him "see the light". It was beautiful and it was the most moving moment of the whole AR2005 experience for me.
Again, Laura, you are NOT alone....we really are like family in this movement, I believe. If you need a friend...I know MANY, including me, will step up to the plate. And I, LIKE MANY, will strive to keep fighting this fight...and make Virgil proud.
What a great loss...and yet...still an awesome inspiration....that will NEVER end. NEVER.
Love and Care to you Laura...and everyone who is grieving.
Awww Laura...I am so sorry to hear of his passing....he was a wonderful soul, and the world was blessed to have him in it. He has done so much good in the short time he was on this earth. Please accept my sincerest condolences and sympathy on your loss...my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
For you Virgil.....a wonderful activist for the animals...
I am so sorry to hear this news...we will all miss Virgil and he has been and continues to be an inspiration for all of us...
Wishing you peace during this difficult time....
I am so sorry for your loss.
Virgil was and is a most incredible person.
I'm sure you are devastated,
thank you for taking the time and effort to let us know.
Sending you and Virgil love.
Even though I never had the privilege of actually meeting Virgil and Laura, we corresponded so much and I felt so close to both. Laura you are so brave and I know how much you loved Virgil. I am at a loss for words right now but will be in touch with you. The earth, humans and animals, have lost a fighter.
Keep fighting the fight, and never shut up. That's what he wanted.
We shall miss you soooo much.
I shall do exactally what you wanted.
We were saddened to hear of the untimely death of Virgil Butler, the former slaughterhouse worker from Arkansas who dedicated his life to educating others about the horrors of factory farming. Virgil battled the poultry industry with courage and a limitless supply of patience. He gave news conferences about his experiences and spoke forcefully about animal and human rights issues on his blog, The Cyberactivist (www.cyberactivist.blogspot.com) He died on December 15, 2006 at the age of 41. His legacy is one of kindness, hope and perseverance, and his loss is deeply felt.
Finally, after a number of years, all the things I had seen and been a part of started to haunt me. It got harder and harder to keep going to work every night and kill defenseless birds and watch them suffer. It got harder to be around all the negativity that hung over that place and the people who worked there.
Now, I am using all that knowledge to spread the word to others of how bad things really are in the industry. I am hoping that if I can help educate people to the horror that is factory farming, they will rise up and demand change. I know that things can be different because I have been there.—Virgil Butler
For more information on Virgil commitment to animal and human rights read:
Whistleblower on the Kill Floor
The Satya Interview with Virgil Butler and Laura Alexander
VIRGIL LIGHT DOES INDEED SHINE BRIGHTLY AND HAS MUCH OTHER WORK TO DO ON THE OTHER PLANES. HE HAS LEFT US A LEGACY AND EVEN MORE HOPE AND SOLID GROUND TO STAND ON
MAY YOUR HEART BE AT PEACE EVEN WHILST YOU GRIEVE.
hostess of save felines from torture
So very sorry to hear this news. My thought and my prayers are with you Laura....
In memory of a very good man...
My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for your loss. I am behind your missions to help animals all the way.
Thank you Virgil you are wonderful, God Bless & God Speed.
This work to help animals from cruelty is so important! Thank you all for your very important & inspiring work.
Animal Angels Group @ HeartReach Animal Sanctuary
I HAVE JUST READ OF THE DEMISE OF VIRGIL. HIS LITERATURE WAS BETTER OFTEN TIMES THAN THAT HANDED OUT BY PETA. I OFTEN THOUGHT I WOULD RUN IT OFF AND HAND IT OUT IN FRONT OF KFC. I AM SADDENED TO KNOW THE LOSS WE HAVE ALL SUSTAINED. SUCH A GREAT LEADER AND WARRIOR IS DIFFICULT TO REPLACE. HIS WRITINGS TRULY BEING A WORK OF ART.
I guess I missed this post as I was away. Laura, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Virgil who was a brave and courageous and tireless activist for animal rights.
I'm so sorry. I only just joined this group to hear this news. May his legacy live on. Thanks for not giving up.
It is not only a chicken problem! veals, lambs, donkeys, pigs, rabbits, ducks, gooses (foie gras) THEY ALL SUFFER!
SEE FOR YOURSELF:
SO CHICKEN ARE IMPORTANT, AS MUCH AS ALL OF THEM. BUT FOCUSING ON JUST THEM IS WAISTING ENERGY WHEN YOU COULD CUT THE EVIL BY THE ROOT. SO HELP ME GET MORE THAN 514 SIGNATURES TO END IT ALL FOR CHICKEN, BUT FOR ALL THE OTHERS TOO. THEY DESERVE BETTER! THANK YOU: