The True Story of the Christmas Turkey

Our family used to have turkey only twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas, with mum’s special sausage stuffing and a creamy, savoury gravy – having it so rarely made it extra special. As adults, we followed the same recipe and the same rules, and that made the Turkey Dinner the star of the show.

In fact, turkeys are very intelligent creatures with distinct personalities. They can fly at 55 miles per hour, run up to 35 miles per hour, and can live for up to 10 years under natural conditions. Like all animals, they are sentient, and can feel pain, fear and stress. Farmers have labelled them dumb, hence the sobriquet “turkey” is usually used to insult someone, inferring lower intelligence, but studies have shown they are misunderstood in that when they don’t do what the farmer wants they are labelled “stupid” or “unintelligent”.

Well if not listening to an abuser makes them “stupid” then I am in good company!

The turkey on the Christmas platter was more than likely raised in a dark battery with no space to move, crammed in with other broiler birds. He was fed hormones and gmo grains to plump him up to an unusually meaty size so we can have lots of white breast meat, which caused him to be unable to support his weight, leaving him lying in his own feces, being trampled on by other oversize birds. Because of their tight quarters, their beaks are cut off, along with a portion of their toes, and also males may have their fleshy snood cut off – all without benefit of anaesthesia.

This is meant to prevent them damaging each other while they are confined and grown to optimum size for slaughter. Within five short months a turkey can weight up to 40 lbs, due to genetic manipulation – 56 per cent larger than those produces in the 60s. This means, due to their gargantuan size, they are unable to perform like a normal turkey in the wild: they cannot fly, often cannot walk, and certainly can’t procreate. Hence, artificial insemination is used to get turkey babies.

This is not a pristine, hygienic procedure as we might imagine. Basically, females are held upside down, while someone shoves their hand with a tube or syringe into their vent and inseminates them. A worker in Missouri was quoted as saying, ” I have never done such hard, dirty, disgusting work in my life: 10 hours of pushing birds, grabbing birds, wrestling birds, jerking them upside down, pushing open their vents, dodging their panic-blown excrement and breathing the dust stirred up by terrified birds.”

And once again, don’t think because you purchased ‘organic’ or ‘free range’ that your turkey was living in a meadow, frolicking and cavorting with the other barnyard buddies. Nope. All this means is the food was a little different and the shed they were kept in had no cages, just open floor, giving them a little more room to defecate on each other, step on each other, and breath in more ammonia fumes and dirt.

You may not realize, at the time of slaughter, most birds are suffering from … “painful respiratory diseases and eye disorders, including swelling of the eyelids, discharge, clouding and ulceration of the cornea, and even blindness. There is a high rate of viral and bacterial infections, …” according to ezine Free From Harm.

And if this isn’t bad enough, Mercy for Animals reports animals also suffer from “workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds; birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, and broken bones; and workers grabbing birds by their wings or necks and violently slamming them into tiny transport crates with no regard for their welfare.”

Yes, folks, your turkey probably had some kind of viral lung infection, most likely some sort of skin infection filled with pus from the filth, was not treated, and then you ate it, seasoned with all those GMOs and a few kicks in the head.

After living this five months or so of abuse, they are shipped to the slaughterhouse, where they are dipped in an electric water bath and HOPEFULLY stunned enough so their throats can be more easily cut, and again HOPEFULLY after that, they are actually dead so that the boiling water they are next dumped in to remove their feathers easier doesn’t hurt them – because, you know – we want to kill them humanely. Often, however, they are not dead by the time they reach the boiling vats. It’s estimated more than 1 million turkeys are boiled alive each year.

So much for that humane death.

What does this tell you? Well I know what it tells me: We care more for rapists, pedophiles, and serial killers on death row, criminals who have committed egregious acts, in terms of humane death than we do for the innocent beings on this earth.

I’m including a link here which has a video of such a turkey facility, right here in Ontario. Hybrid Turkeys is the second largest producer of turkeys in the world – so chances are, yours came from there. In this plant, workers abused the turkeys in front of management, but when a hidden camera exposed the brutality, management was quoted as saying it was an isolated incident, and the workers were let go.

Don’t kid yourself. None of this is isolated or unusual, and it’s not limited to just turkeys and chickens. I urge you – no, I implore you – to watch the video, as horrific as it is, and then tell me you can eat your turkey on Christmas Day without a thought as to how it got there.

Hybrid Turkeys, Ontario – undercover video

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/hidden-camera-captures-blatant-animal-cruelty-at-turkey-farm-1.1729233

Merry Christmas.

Some Gross Morning Thoughts…

These days, many conversations often go something like this:

“Oh are you vegan? That’s cool. I don’t eat much meat at all. Maybe like twice a week?”

Why? Why do some people I speak with find it necessary to explain their animal consumption to me once they find out I am vegan? I mean it goes without saying I would like everyone to become vegan and finally have all living beings treated with compassion and respect; failing this at least eat less meat and dairy, but contrary to what you see on my social media, I don’t ram veganism down everyone’s throats…. No, really, I don’t.

Yet for some reason, without prompting, many people I meet seem to feel it necessary to explain to me how LITTLE meat they eat as soon as they learn I’m vegan – and I have to wonder why.

Is it guilt? It could be guilt because they know vegans in general are against the abuse and cruel treatment of animals, and the animal agriculture industry is being exposed, more and more, as proponents of the commodification and abhorrent exploitation of domesticated animals. It could be because they know vegans are also against the fur and leather industries, animal lab experiments, and puppy mills, and these folks know definitively these industries also profit from the cruel useage and eventual death of innocent animals.

So as I sit here drinking my tea with almond milk, I THEN start to wonder if they feel this guilt, then they KNOW, or at least SUSPECT, that the consumption and commodification of living, sentient beings is unquestionably WRONG so the next question is: WHY ARE THEY STILL DOING IT?

Why is it still such a battle for us who advocate for animal rights? I mean, they already actually know or they wouldn’t be justifying themselves to me, and if they know…well….why would they want to be part of it?

If you are eating less meat and dairy, or transitioning to veganism at your own pace: good for you! I’m so happy about that! The best method to being heard is affecting these industries where it hurts: their bank accounts. Every little bit you don’t consume helps get the message across – slowly – but still. And they are not going bankrupt, peeps, don’t worry about that. They will – and are – responding by filling alternate plant-based demands which are getting more and more popular all over.

But if you are, by making this statement, acknowledging there is something wrong with the animal product industry, and yet NOT actually working towards cutting it out even a little bit, then you are a hypocrite. And I don’t actually want to hear how many times a week you don’t eat meat. Because all I hear is the how many times you still do eat the flesh of a once living, breathing, feeling creature.

That’s another thing: it’s flesh – skin, muscle, tendons, blood, bone, capillaries, nerve endings, veins, all things we have, too. That crispy coating your licking your fingers over is SKIN, with hair follicles and bruises and scars. It could be your skin – but it’s not, luckily. It’s some other creature’s skin. You know in Nazi Germany, the skin of the Jews was used to make book covers, furniture covers, and lamp shades…but I digress.

Gross eh?

Anyway, that’s my gross thought for today. Maybe someone out there has an answer for why people explain themselves to me when they learn I’m vegan. I think it’s guilt. Guilt because they know and understand how cruelly animals are being treated for our consumption, and that makes me feel sad because if that is the case, then it’s going to take a lot more than some undercover videos of the inhumane treatment of pigs to stop people from eating bacon. If you already have the knowledge, and you do it anyway, that doesn’t bode well for humankind on this earth.

Why Veganuary?

The month of January is often a time when people make resolutions to themselves to improve their lives. Most of these resolutions go unfulfilled – usually because the project feels bigger than them once they get into it. Often, the challenge is too big, the immediate rewards too small, and the support non-existent.

Choosing to go Vegan is one of those commitments that is totally overwhelming to many people, despite how they feel about the cruel treatment of factory-farmed animals and the effects on the environment. Many people are able to disconnect from the facts: they can’t watch a video of a live male chick being put into a grinder simply because he has no value if he can’t lay eggs, but they can tuck into their eggs benny without a thought. This is called “cognitive dissonance” and humans are masters at it.

cow-burger

They don’t feel like people do……really? That looks like fear to me.

We sign petitions against the Yulin Festival, where dogs are rounded up, imprisoned, and slaughtered for traditional dinner fare but don’t give a thought to the geese force-fed tubes of food down their throats to painfully fatten their liver for foie gras or cows hung upside down while alive, watching in abject terror as their throats are cut and their lifeblood empties onto the filthy concrete below them while we at our steaks.

See? Cognitive dissonance.

Cargill_Kam_03

This is a Canadian plant.

People can eat plant-based diets strictly for nutritional reasons but that is not necessarily Vegan. Being Vegan is a lifestyle, not just a diet. Being Vegan is a choice bound in the ethics and morality of not harming any other living, sentient beings. This includes not eating them, not wearing them, not using them and their by-products for any use whatsoever. No leather car seats or handbags and shoes. No down-filled parkas. No fur-lined collars. No make up used to test on animals. No candies using gelatin made from hooves and bones.

b_downer_kicked

Not a daunting endeavour from where I’m sitting….or for this poor baby pig either.

Wow there’s a lot out there Vegans willingly forgo in the name of compassion.

Veganism seems like a pretty daunting endeavour!

This is why I like the idea of Veganuary, for those who would like to go Vegan, but find the commitment daunting. (Link to the Veganuary plan included here.)

Let’s draw up a good old-fashioned pro/con list to put things in some perspective. I love lists. Putting everything down in black and white (made even more fun using coloured GEL PENS – with sparkles!) really helps me keep organized and feel less overwhelmed. The fact that I forget the lists at home notwithstanding, it’s the actual drawing up of the list that is key.

Pros

  • According to PETA 198 animals are saved (that is not produced for slaughter) each year by one Vegan. WOW!
  • Improved health: no cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduction of the risk of heart disease and diabetes, weight loss, improved skin and hair, more energy, lower risk of developing many cancers.
  • Helping the planet and the environment: most greenhouse gases emitted are caused by animal agriculture, not fossil fuel-based vehicles.
  • End world hunger: livestock takes up 80 per cent of agricultural land by either raising it or raising the food needed for the livestock. If that food were used for humans, it would end world hunger.
  • Rainforests and animal habitats would not be destroyed to create agricultural land to raise or feed livestock.
  • With an appropriate plan in place, farmers, field workers and labourers would still have jobs and earn a living without factory-farming.
  • Animals currently on the endangered list would repopulate due to habitat retrieval.
  • Oceans would become replete with sea life once again.
  • Our air and water would detoxify.

Wow. That’s some good stuff. Now the cons.

Cons

  • …………………..
  • no bacon. NOT TRUE! bacon can be recreated in many meat-free carcinogenic-free ways. Not a valid con. Next
  • Our agricultural animals would go extinct. The farm animals we have were bred to be docile and caged. It would be more difficult for them to exist in the wild, but not impossible. There are many docile animals who live, eat and procreate successfully in the wild. Obviously we would house our domesticated animals and care for them  while gradually allowing their numbers to adjust through natural processes and in time, they would develop appropriate methods for survival. Survival of the fittest has always been nature’s way long before humans interfered.
  • We need animal protein and fats to stay healthy. ALSO NOT TRUE! Many of our largest mammals are vegan, and I don’t think any of us would want to take them on to prove their muscles aren’t just fine, thankyouverymuch! We do not need animal protein. Protein is protein. Building blocks of our muscles yes. Plant-based protein is cheaper, easier to get, cholesterol free, delicious, and cruelty free and more beneficial as there are no cholesterols or carcinogens.

Ok. These are just some of the pros and cons. I think they are the most important ones, or at least the ones most addressed by omnivores.

I also think in looking at this list the choice is a no-brainer. #govegan.

Veganuary is not just a time but it is also a very do-able plan allowing those who are vegan-curious or a bit timid to give it a try with no risk. The Veganuary plan is online, offers recipes and nutrition tips, has tons of information, and tons of support! It explains why there is no humane slaughter, why free range is a myth, and provides oodles and oodles of excellent fact-based information.

One month. One site. One life: yours.