Nov 15, 2019

The truth about turkeys

By Heather Moore

Dear Editor,

Cheers to Jessica Johnson for encouraging everyone to celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving (A meat-free Thanksgiving, but why?” published on Nov. 20).

There’s no need to take a turkey’s life to celebrate the blessings in your own.

Turkeys are sentient, social animals. People who have spent time around turkey hens at sanctuaries say that they’re devoted mothers who take meticulous care of their young. Turkeys like to eat together as a family and these gentle birds enjoy human companionship.

Retired poultry scientist Tom Savage said, “I’ve always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings.”

But before they’re killed, they spend several months packed tightly together in filthy, dark sheds.

To keep them from pecking each other in stress and deprivation, factory workers cut off part of the birds’ sensitive upper beaks with a hot blade—using no pain relievers.

At the slaughterhouse, the terrified turkeys are hung upside-down and dragged through an electrified “stunning tank,” which immobilizes, but does not kill them.

Many birds dodge the tank and are still conscious when their throats are slit. Many are then scalded alive in the tanks of water used for feather removal.

That doesn’t quite reflect the Thanksgiving spirit, does it?

If you want your holiday centerpiece to reflect joy and gratitude rather than pain and suffering, then try a tasty vegan feast.


Heather Moore

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