Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Tale of Two Turkeys

I was going to post about honey today, but Turkey seems more appropriate.  I read several articles in Satya Magazine this week about Turkeys and honestly it broke my heart.  Turkeys are intelligent, curious, social creatures and they are treated horribly.  

Turkeys have been genetically modified to grow very large breasts, because that is what people like to eat the most.  The result of this is that their breasts are so heavy that they can no longer breed normally.  Turkeys have to be artificially inseminated.  And really, it is not as nice as it sounds.  Once or twice a week, the male turkeys are held down and manipulated or "milked" and their sperm is collected.  Someone actually has a job where they do this to turkeys all day long.  Meghan Beeby in a Satya Magazine article wrote:

"In describing the milking process a worker explained, “It’s totally different than what people imagine. I can tell you right now—you’re gonna be shocked… Basically I’ll give you the short run down of it. We got a tom bench in the barn. The guys pick the toms up and put them on the bench and they rub them up, squeeze them, and it ejaculates the tom. The semen is sucked up through the filtration system and sent through a valve...” "

The females are held down and inseminated.  The workers who do this often injure the turkeys.  They are essentially raping turkeys.  Beeby also wrote:  

"Each laborer inseminates an average of 1,200-1,400 hens within two hours."

The other side effect of the extra large turkey breast is that the turkeys have a lot of problems walking.  

Turkeys, like chickens, also have their beaks "trimmed" to prevent them from pecking each other in their overcrowded pens.

Turkeys are slaughtered inhumanely.  Peta says "At the slaughterhouse,turkeys are hung upside down by their weak and crippled legs. Their heads are dragged through an electrified stunning tank, which immobilizes them but does not render them unconscious.Many dodge the tank,meaning that they are fully conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife,too,misses its mark,birds are boiled alive in the tank of scalding water used for feather removal."

For more information, see this Satya Magazine article or this Peta brochure.

And if you think that your turkey was humanely raised, read this Satya article.

This Thanksgiving, I ask that you consider not eating turkey.  Serve something else.  Consider serving a vegetarian main course instead.  Consider adopting a turkey from the Farm Sanctuary.  Your $20 adoption fee provides the funds for the Farm Sanctuary to care for one of the lucky turkeys for the year.

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