Last week a few workers from the local Gas Company stopped in to check on our propane tank. Safety protocol. Nice of them. Right now we use propane to heat the brooder for our chicks and turkey poults.
One of the gas workers recounted a story. Last year he made the same call to a confinement turkey house in West Virginia. In order for him to even step into the turkey confinement house he had to take a shower, next he had to wear a suit, a bio-tech safety suit, a mask, and step in a bucket of bleach in his boots before entering and leaving the house.
The turkeys live in a “black out”. They are never see light. He could not talk, cough, or sneeze once he stepped inside. Nor could he see anything. He was instructed to hold the arm of the guy who managed the confinement houses. If he thought he needed to make a sound, any sound at all, he was told to squeeze the arm of the manager ahead of time, hold the impulse, and the manager would immediately remove him from the house. Human beings are unfamiliar to the turkeys in confinement houses. Any sound would frighten them, they would all push to the center in a huddle and suffocate the ones in the middle. That particular turkey house had 4300 birds in it. It could be a disaster.
The manager of these 6 confinement houses takes 6 showers a day. Before he enters each turkey “dungeon” he has to shower. His poor skin, it must be so dried out. My heart goes out to him.
The nice guy that told me this story seemed to come out of nowhere. I was carrying on, another day on the farm, when they pulled up. He was so eager to share the distinction between our farm and the confinement houses. I was quickly reminded about doing work that feels deadening, that carries no passion. My first job as a teenager was at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Many many years ago, long before many of you were born I’m sure! I had no connection back then to food, in a healthy way. It took a long time for me to come aboard. I’m fortunate.
I could not do his job. I’m pleased to be in a situation where I chose to do work that feeds my passion for life. A life that allows for instinct, intuition, creativity, education, and beauty everyday. I feel strongly that it is the birthright of each one of us to do work we love, in a setting that inspires us. What else are we here for?