Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yearly Thanksgiving Harangue

You knew it was coming, dincha? ;)

None of my friends and family IRL escape this, and dear reader, neither will you.

Excerpted from Turkeys: Factory-Farmed Torture on the Holiday Table:

More than 40 million turkeys are killed each year at Thanksgiving, more than 20 million are slaughtered at Christmas, and another 19 million die for Easter dinners. Before ending up as holiday centerpieces, these gentle birds spend five to six months on factory farms where thousands of them are packed into dark sheds with no more than 3.5 square feet of space per bird. To keep the overcrowded birds from scratching and pecking each other to death, workers cut off portions of the birds’ toes and upper beaks with hot blades and de-snood the males (the snood is the flap of skin that runs from the beak to the chest). No pain relievers are used during any of these procedures.

Genetic manipulation and antibiotics enable farmers to produce heavily muscled birds who can weigh 35 pounds in as little as five months, and “their internal organs are noticeably crammed together in the little bit of space remaining for the body cavity,” according to The Washington Post. An industry magazine said, “[T]urkey breeders have created birds with huge, unnatural, outsized breasts, since white breast meat is where the money is.” Another turkey breeder complained that birds “are bred to grow fast just to live to 16 weeks [and then] they die,” usually from organ failure, and some suffer from broken legs because their bones are not able to support their weight. A 12-year study of turkey farmers in Iowa (one of the nation’s top turkey-producing states) revealed that leg problems and aneurysms were among the top three health problems in turkey flocks. Factory-farmed turkeys are so large that they cannot even perform normal reproductive behaviors, so all turkeys raised for food are the products of artificial insemination.

Millions of turkeys don’t even make it past the first few weeks before succumbing to “starve-out,” a stress-induced condition that causes young birds to simply stop eating. Catching and transportation are particularly stressful processes for birds, and yet they are repeatedly moved during their short lives—from hatchery to the brooding area to the growing area and finally to the slaughterhouse.

At the slaughterhouse, turkeys are hung upside-down by their weak and twisted legs before their heads are dragged through an electrified “stunning tank,” which immobilizes them but does not kill them. Many birds dodge the tank and, therefore, are fully conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife fails to properly slit the birds’ throats, they are scalded alive in the tank of hot water used for feather removal.
Okay, I'm done.

Consider a nice tofurky, or some mashed potatoes?

Butterball Cruelty
United Poultry Concerns
Animals Voice
Vegan Outreach

Listening to: Dead Kennedys - Holiday in Cambodia
via FoxyTunes


Mr. Fabulous said...

The turkey ia actually my least favorite part of the meal. Give me biscuits, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce and I'm happy...

karloff said...

Blah. Just give me the stuffing. If you need tradition shape the stuffing into a turkey, or maybe shape them into ye olde traditional pox blankets.

Happy Haranguing!

drakyn said...

I'm a vegetarian already, but damn it, I've always preferred the sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, biscuits, cranberry sauce, etc. to the turkey. ^.^

CrackerLilo said...

*mean giggles at Karloff*

I like lots of side dishes, too, always have. Traditional and unexpected ones. I even made these re-imagined brussels sprouts--shredded and gently stir-fried in walnut oil--and nobody believed what they were eating. Who needs turkey, or even Tofurkey?

I read of a vegetarian family that has actual living turkeys *by* the table, eating pie and cranberries. That might be fun for next year. :-)

Rosie said...

You know, I didn't know they had accelerated the growth genetically with turkeys as they had with the frankenchickens. I did know, a bit you didn't mention...the wide breasted birds are unable to mate naturally. My friends who have raised them in their flocks have all said that they have such funny and sweet personalities that even if you got them for the table, they end up being pets.

a.w. said...

Turkey would be my least favorite, followed closely by chicken, then beef. They're all pretty bland without work and spices I don't have is probably why. I usually subside on ramen, which might be why I'm so fond of the side dishes in holiday dinners. The rolls make great little containers for the potatos and stuffing. =/ Two days and there's only one roll left and some cretin ate the stuffing and gravy I was hording away, I'm doomed.

Drakyn said...

I like mixing the mashed potatoes with peas and/or corn. ^.^
I've never tried it, but they'd probably go well with lima beans too (I absolutely adore lima beans--so tasty!)

sillygeuse said...

First off, I found your blog through a post you made on AntiBarbie which I found to be incredibly insightful, (in regard to her issue with popular bloggers). Then I read this and decided I may just go back to being Vegetarian like my nine year old daughter. My best friend once told me a quote that to parphrase says something like, "how you treat the least of us is a statement upon your own character". I find this to be quite true especially when speaking about what we eat. Damn, and I actually enjoyed turkey!

West said...

Wow, the only thing I can think of more horrible than that is abortion... but you somehow find that acceptable...