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A Canadian vegan – and former slaughterhouse worker – has spoken out about how killing animals made him more violent.

Scott Hoskins, who started working at a chicken processing plant in his early 20s, told CBC Radio how the job made his personal life ‘unravel‘.

Department

Hoskins told the station: “I was engaged at the time, so was about to get married and had multiple part-time jobs, so to have access to benefits and that type of salary, I didn’t give it much of a second thought and just took it.

“The first position I got placed into was on the boning floor, much like an assembly line.

“The chickens would pass by and I took out a specific bone every three seconds.”

Kill dept

He says he didn’t like the job on the boning floor, which he did for around nine months.

“When a job came up I transferred to the live receive/kill department.”

Hoskins describes himself as ‘completely detached’ – saying the very short amount of time he had to complete the job (hanging live chickens on shackles), meant he ‘had no connection to what the chickens were experiencing, or to what you are contributing to.’

He adds: ” I didn’t give a thought to the ethics. It took a long time to develop that.

Unravel

The violence he undertook at work took its toll on his personal life – with his marriage unraveling.

He was drinking a lot. “I had a lot of violence inside me that I suppressed quite a bit,” he says.

“The connection that I’m seeing throughout this is a positive reinforcement of a violent behaviour,” he says about being paid to kill.

“I saw the chickens for use as resources, and that poured into my relationships with people and domesticated animals.

“I wasn’t violent to them, but I had a lack of connection with them.”

Vegan

Now almost 20 years later, Hoskins is vegan – and takes part in vigils outside the slaughterhouse where the worked.

He said: “I don’t even see an argument about it being violent any more.

“By definition, violence [is] a physical action with intent to harm, injure or kill something or someone. 

“There’s no argument there. It’s exactly violence. I and others have justified that or minimized that for a very long time.”

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Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.