Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Turkeys are DUMB"

Pangs in my stomach stab as I hear this naive and just plain annoying reason for supporting the slaughtering of millions of turkeys for THANKSgiving. 45 million are cooked to each host/hostesses desire with a side of mashed potatoes and stuffing while 22 million get gobbled up for Christmas dinner. Tom Savage, an Oregon State University Animal Scientist, decided to take on this dumb turkey challenge as he grew sick of his poultry subjects constantly boraged with naive statements from the mouth that eats them. The nationally recognized poultry geneticist points out that "turkeys are smart animals with personality and character, with a keen awareness of their surroundings." He refers to the stories passed on about turkeys cocking their heads back and staring up at the sky while its raining, thus drowning themselves to death. Apparently this is a genetically-caused nervous disorder called tetanic toricollar spasms. Sadly, its the stupid humans running the factory farms who are in charge of the breeding and care which means they are to blame for genetic issues. We can also blame the farmers for the turkeys inability to fly because the birds are bred to be maxed out on the meat mass therefore they are too heavy to be able to fly. Wild turkeys can fly just fine, which means domesticated were most likely able to at some point, until they became debeaked, close quartered, dirty birds farmed by dumps like Tyson.
I visited the FARM SACTUARY in Orland California this past weekend. We celebrated our feathered friends by feeding them and treating them with the respect they deserve. Many families have volunteered to adopt turkeys from the Farm Sactuary. FS rescues farm animals from the worst farms in America, and these animals have learned to adjust to humans in a new way. There are many "turkey love stories" these families share and most include the fact that turkeys love to snuggle. There is a famous "hugging turkey" named Lydia who flaps her wings and runs up to guests that visit her at the farm. She will literally embrace you by pressing her chest against you and stretching her head and neck over your shoulder! These stories remind me of my now deceased greyhound Tai and all greyhounds that I meet. Usually these animals are handled like professional athletes while they are at the track and winning. As soon as they slow down, its time to let them loose in a field in the middle of nowhere or just shoot them or starve them to death. For the horrifying treatment some endure, the most amazing sight to see is how well these dogs take to their new moms and dads.
If only we could learn from animals and understand the unconditional love they show towards the humans that care for them even when the caretaker is abusive. Maybe its time to stop and think why you love your pet so much but eat animals that have been treated so poorly you would probably puke if you saw how that animal was raised and killed for your meal. (If you wish to know, look up MEET YOUR MEAT online and watch it) You will not forget those times as a child when your parents took you to a farm or an amusement park where you had the rare chance to get close to a goat, pig or horse. Those moments are magical because animals have that power over us. Remember those moments this Thanksgiving with your family.

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