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Posts Tagged ‘turkeys’

All too often even the most egregious cases of animal abuse go without any substantial punishment. This seems even more true when the victim is a “food” animal.  However, I saw some good news today that gives me some hope that times may be changing (slowly, but changing nonetheless).

Around Thanksgiving last year, People for the Ethical Treatement of Animals (PETA) released undercover video footage of Aviagen Turkeys Inc. slaughterhouse employees abusing live turkeys.   I am happy to report that last week three of those workers were indicted on  19 counts of animal abuse, 11 of them felony charges that could carry significant jail time.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Each felony charge is punishable by up to five years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine. The misdemeanor charges carry possible sentences of six months and up to $2,000 in fines.”  These punishments are unusually harsh in a farm animal abuse case, but given the severity of the abuse, I think they are totally appropriate.  Until people like this are held accountable for their actions and severe punishments are the norm, the abuse will continue.  Companies engaged in any kind of animal production or handling need to make it painfully clear that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated and our legal system  needs to punish people accordingly when such cases do arise.  I am glad that in this case it seems that the courts are taking this abuse seriously.

I met a few turkeys when I visited Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen.  Having heard my whole life how stupid turkeys are, I was surprised to see that they’re actually quite bright animals, and that they, like pigs, cows, dogs, and other animals, have rich emotional lives.  They are sweet, kind animals, and I am so happy I got to meet some of them. It reinforced even more why I choose not to eat them.  Look at how beautiful they are!

Turkey being petp5094349p5094317

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What’s for dinner?  This, which can be seen in a recent PETA undercover video:

[The video shows] stomach-turning brutality. Workers are seen smashing birds into loading cages like basketballs, stomping heads and breaking necks, apparently for fun, even pretending to rape one.

On the tape, one worker describes losing his temper at a tom who pecked him, marking its head with a pen so he could find it again, fetching a broomstick, ramming it down the bird’s gullet and holding it up in the air while shouting “Let this be a lesson to y’all” at the rest of the flock.

His supervisor later excuses such behavior by saying, “Every once and a while, everybody gets agitated and has to kill a bird.” Noting that only two of his crew “really like to do it,” he says they are otherwise steady workers and adds: “As long as they don’t do it a lot, I don’t really say too much about it.”

Well, that sounds DELICIOUS, doesn’t it?!  Um, yeah, I think I’ll stick to my Field Roast Celebration Roast. What about you?

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Wow.  I have to say that our nation escaped a complete disaster when we elected the Obama-Biden ticket as opposed to McCain-Palin.  Sarah Palin was recently interviewed at a farm (slaughter-house??) “pardoning” a turkey for Thanksgiving, while right behind her another turkey is meeting its demise–and she could care less.  She’s happy go-lucky the whole time talking about how grateful she is for her family and blahblahblah – completely oblivious to the fact that an animal is struggling to live right behind her for what seems like an eternity (actually over 3 minutes, which would be quite a long time if you were suffering horribly).

Meanwhile, the guy who’s doing the killing keeps staring at Palin and at the camera presumably thinking this is the greatest day of his entire life: “Look, ma! I’m on TV and I’m killin’ a bird!”  What an accomplishment!

Here’s the video – it’s not overly graphic, but not really what I’d call “pleasant” to watch either – so, watch at your own risk.  Anyway, with any luck, maybe a few people who saw it will think twice about turkey this Thanksgiving.

For some reason I can’t embed the video in this post, so check it out HERE.

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I am back from a wonderful weekend at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. What an adventure we had. I finally got to meet the goat I sponsored, Goodwin. This is him:

Goodwin
Goodwin

He is just the cutest little goat I’ve ever seen. Apparently his growth was stunted due to malnutrition or something, so he is only about half the size of the other pygmy goats. Since he is still pretty new there, he is terribly shy, and not sure what he thinks of humans yet. You can’t really blame him since he probably had never been treated kindly before now. In addition, he’s still trying to figure out where he fits in the pygmy goat herd. Despite his shyness, you could tell he has a lot of personality. He is cautious and wants to check things out, but to me it just seemed like you could tell he had a gentle, kind little personality. I think he’s feisty too underneath it all. I will be interested to see how he develops over time – yes, I’ll definitely go back there someday!

Here are some more of my pictures. If you haven’t been to a farmed animal sanctuary, I cannot recommend it enough. It was such a beautiful experience to connect with animals who have escaped slaughter, abuse, and neglect, and now are happy, sweet creatures who have learned to forgive humans, despite what they’ve been through. And for selfish reasons, it was just plain fun to give a pig a belly rub!

Turkey

Happy pigRoseFennel, the roosterHappy pig

Maya, the friendly cow

goat

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