Farmed Animal Watch: Objective Information for the Thinking Advocate
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NOVEMBER 27, 2006 -- Number 41, Volume 6

1. CARTOONS

Bizarro: Thanksgiving and Christmas
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/fun/Bizarro.asp?date=20061120
and see p. 29 (= last page of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f

“A Turkey's Ultimate Revenge and a Human’s Nightmare”
http://onnoknuvers.blogspot.com/2006/11/thanksgiving-is-this-weeks-topic-for.html

 

2. CONSUMPTION

Americans ate an average of 16.7 pounds of turkey per person last year, up 70% from 1980 and, according to the National Turkey Federation, up from about 8 pounds in 1970.

Turkey production, however, has more than tripled since 1970, with 10% of it now being exported. Of the estimated 266.5 million turkeys who will be raised in 2006, some 45 million were eaten for Thanksgiving. About half of the respondents to a survey by food consultant Technomic said they would prepare or eat turkey for Thanksgiving.


NO MORE FEATHERWEIGHTS
Star Tribune, Matt McKinney, November 21, 2006
http://www.startribune.com/535/story/828138.html

THANKSGIVING PLEA: DON'T GOBBLE UP TURKEYS
Agence France Press, Nadia Teskrat, Nov. 21, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061121/lf_afp/afplifestyleus

CONSUMERS STILL EMBRACE TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING MEAL
Meating Place, Alicia Karapetian, Nov. 22, 2006
http://www.meatingplace.com/MembersOnly/webNews/details.aspx?item=16865

 

3. PRODUCTION

Norbest offers an on-line tour of turkey production, from the birds used for breeding to the slaughterplant: http://www.norbest.com/a_turkey_tour.cfm

While female turkeys are still slaughtered at about 12 pounds, the industry has added a pound a year to the market weight of male turkeys, who can now grow to 40 pounds or more in 20 weeks. "If a seven pound (human) baby grew at the same rate that today's turkey grows, when the baby reaches 18 weeks of age, it would weight 1,500 pounds," remarks Farm Sanctuary’s Tricia Ritterbusch citing the agricultural journal Lancaster Farming. Rather than rely on added hormones or steroids, genetic selection has been used to make turkeys grow faster and heavier. "There's going to be a physiological limit," cautions Kent Reed, part of a team of scientists mapping the turkey's genetic structure. In addition to joint and skeletal problems, he notes that some birds actually develop a heart that is unable to pump blood to all of their muscle mass (see also: http://tinyurl.com/hfut7 ).

The National Turkey Federation offers “Turkey History and Facts” at: http://www.eatturkey.com/consumer/history.html
A 4-page fact sheet can also be found at (PDF file): http://www.minnesotaturkey.com/documents/MTGAfactsheet.pdf
See also: http://www.norbest.com/a_turkey_facts.cfm

Suki Falconberg writes about the plight of intensively produced turkeys in an article published in the November 17th American Chronicle entitled “THE GRINCH WHO STOLE THANKSGIVING”: http://tinyurl.com/yjl9ly

See also “GOBBLE, GOBBLE, GENOCIDE” and “A TURKEY NAMED TAYLOR” (p. 15 of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f


NO MORE FEATHERWEIGHTS
Star Tribune, Matt McKinney, November 21, 2006
http://www.startribune.com/535/story/828138.html

THANKSGIVING PLEA: DON'T GOBBLE UP TURKEYS
Agence France Press, Nadia Teskrat, Nov. 21, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20061121/lf_afp/afplifestyleus

 

4. INVESTIGATIONS

Farm Sanctuary recently conducted an undercover investigation at a large U.S. turkey breeding facility. There, each worker inseminates an average of 1,200-1,400 hens within two hours. The procedures used for male and female birds, “a form of legalized bestiality and rape in animal agriculture,” are described. Male birds are kept for a year “in dark crowded pens” and are “milked” once or twice weekly. Females who don’t die beforehand are typically killed prior to their 2nd birthday.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has lodged a complaint with local prosecutors after the organization’s investigators documented workers torturing turkeys at a Butterball slaughterplant in Ozark, Arkansas. Birds were punched and stomped and slammed against walls. Alleges PETA: “One Butterball employee stomped on a bird's head until her skull exploded, another swung a turkey against a metal handrail so hard that her spine popped out, and another was seen inserting his finger into a turkey's cloaca (vagina). One worker told an investigator: ‘If you jump on their stomachs right, they'll pop ... or their insides will come out of their [rectums],’ and other Butterball workers frequently bragged about kicking and tormenting birds.” The investigators notes and video footage of the April-July 2006 investigation are on-line at: http://tinyurl.com/y64vs2 PETA is seeking coverage of birds under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. See also p. 7 & 8 of (PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f

More recently, Compassion Over Killing (COK) announced that, between June and July of 2006, its investigator at a hatchery that supplies turkeys to Butterball had “documented shockingly abusive conditions for newly-hatched chicks including: sick, injured, or ‘surplus’ chicks discarded in the same disposal system as the cracked egg shells, chicks suffocated in plastic bags, chicks being tossed around like inanimate objects throughout the processing system as they are sorted, sexed, de-beaked, de-toed, and in some cases de-snooded and chicks becoming mangled on the machinery and left on the ground to suffer for hours,” reports Meat News. Butterball said it is taking steps to investigate the allegations. “We rigorously enforce our animal-welfare policies and are committed to addressing any noncompliance issues immediately and appropriately,” stated a spokesperson. Details, photos and video at: http://www.cok.net/camp/inv/turkeys06/

Photos of California turkey farm investigations are on-line at:
http://www.turkey-production.com/wst_page2.php


THANKSGIVING’S NASTY LITTLE SECRET
Satya, Meghan Beeby, November 2006
http://www.satyamag.com/nov06/beeby.html
An additional photo can be seen at: http://www.adoptaturkey.org/industry_firsthand.htm

BUTTERBALL SUPPLIER ACCUSED OF ABUSE
Meat News/Meat Processing, Nov. 22, 2006
http://www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=13077

 

5. ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTION

The November 21st issue of Business Week tells that “Demand for heritage, organic, and free-range turkeys has grown recently due to health-conscious consumers who trust small, family farms,” in an on-line article that includes a slide show: http://tinyurl.com/y5k833 Various turkey production labels are interpreted by The Washington Post at: http://tinyurl.com/yy4cbb

Humane educator Rae Sikora, founder and director of Simply Enough, visited “a local, organic farm with a good reputation for environmental and humane standards.” She relates: “The birds are ‘gently’ pushed into wall mounted funnels head first and upside down. With their heads hanging below an opening at the base of the funnel, the ‘harvester’ slices the major arteries on the bird’s neck. A bucket catches the blood below. In the words of the harvester, ‘I slice with a clean hundred dollar surgical knife. I am careful not to cut the airway. We need them alive, breathing and bleeding to drain all the blood out or it gets too messy in the next step. It is very fast. It only takes two minutes. They are breathing the whole time and their legs are kicking, but it is mostly just nerves.’” Sikora urges everyone who eats meat labeled as “humane,” “organic,” or “free range” to visit the place the meat comes from. “They will realize these labels give people permission to turn their backs on the violent reality of eating living beings,” she asserts:

See also “DIARY OF A TURKEY KILLER,” Slate, Novella Carpenter, Nov. 21, 2006
http://www.salon.com/mwt/food/eat_drink/2006/11/21/killing_turkey/

Also: “WELCOME TO A FREE-RANGE TURKEY FARM”:
http://www.free-range-turkey.com
and “FREE RANGE TURKEY ABUSE” (p. 8 of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f

TURKEY FARMERS BUILD A BETTER BIRD
Business Week, Douglas MacMillan, November 21, 2006
http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/nov2006/sb20061121_720664.htm

“HUMANELY RAISED” TURKEYS?
Satya, Rae Sikora, November 2006
http://www.satyamag.com/nov06/sikora.html

 

6. VEGETARIAN OPTIONS

“[T]his year let the turkey (and your mom) thank you by choosing a less laborious, convenient and healthier vegetarian Thanksgiving meal,” urges Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing editor of health news at Foxnews.com and chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center. He directs readers to the Whole Foods site, which features a chart of ingredient substitutions, including ones for eggs, milk and gelatin: http://tinyurl.com/uw46w He also turns them on to Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-a-Turkey Project: http://www.adoptaturkey.org

Turtle Island Foods is celebrating the sale of its millionth Tofurky since the soy turkey debuted in 1995. (Business Week’s Rebecca Reisner invited friends over to test the appeal of her first one: http://tinyurl.com/yy4f5e) Sales of meat and dairy analogs in the U.S. grew 63.5% between 2000 and 2005, with consumers expected to buy $1.38 billion of them in 2006. Sales of frozen and refrigerated meat substitutes alone increased 36% in the 12-month period that ended in January, 2006. (Additionally, vegetarian menu items increased in popularity by 33% among restaurant customers in 2005: http://tinyurl.com/tyrlq ) Market research firm NPD Group attributes the increase to nonvegetarians who choose to eat vegetarian foods more often. Business Week looks at some of these other products and tells of the smaller companies that produce them being bought up by food conglomerates. A slide show is included: http://tinyurl.com/y2pnh4

See also: www.GentleThanksgiving.org

LET THE TURKEY THANK YOU
Fox News, Dr. Manny Alvarez, November 21, 2006
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,231237,00.html

PASS THE TOFURKY, PLEASE
Business Week, Rebecca Reisner, Nov. 21, 2006
http://tinyurl.com/y4wlnn

 

7. TURKEYS, GET TO KNOW THEM

Hundreds of people became better acquainted with turkeys during Farm Sanctuary’s Celebration of the Turkeys at the organization’s California and New York sanctuaries: http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/16073776.htm

Accounts of how personable turkeys are:
LOVING OLIVIA: http://tinyurl.com/yfy5pp
TURKEYS: WHO ARE THEY? (p.10 of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f
TURKEYS ARE OUR FRIENDS: http://www.alternet.org/story/44618/
UNEXPECTED CONVERTERS: http://www.satyamag.com/nov06/brown.html
TALKING TURKEY (p. 11 of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f
A TURKEY NAMED ADAM: http://www.turkey-production.com/wst_page4.html
REUNION: (p. 14 of PDF file): http://tinyurl.com/y82b3f

 





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Compiled and edited by Cat Carroll and Mary Finelli, Farmed Animal Watch is a free weekly electronic news digest of information concerning farmed animal issues gleaned from an array of academic, industry, advocacy and mainstream media sources.