Friday, November 28, 2008

The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

By Suki Falconberg


The turkey on your table went through a lot before she got there. She was ‘factory farmed.’ This involves procedures that can be defined as extreme torture. Within the first three hours of her birth, the baby turkey had three-toes chopped off and she was debeaked, all without anesthetic. Debeaking involves amputating the highly sensitive beak tissue with a hot blade, and it causes life-long pain and suffering. Both debeaking and toe amputation are regarded as ‘necessary,’ so the birds will not peck and claw each to death out of misery and frustration in the warehouses where they ‘live’ until slaughter.

Factory farming, also called ‘intensive confinement,’ crowds thousands of birds together in large barns where they stand in their own excrement, breathing in the ammonia fumes caused by the build up. They live their entire lives under these conditions, which cause ulcerated feet, destroyed lungs, and eyes burned out by the fumes—not to mention emotional frustration, stress, and eventually insanity. They’re also fed a steady diet of antibiotics, to keep them alive in their hell long enough to get them to slaughter.

Growth hormones cause them to develop so fast that their bones and feet can’t bear the weight. The lameness is so severe that they some must crawl around on their wings in order to reach food and water. Other birds trample the weaker ones, and all of these creatures are incredibly sick for their whole lives. If you could imagine being shot up with massive hormones doses and force-fed antibiotics all the time, it’s not a recipe for much bodily joy in life.

The debeaking mentioned earlier also makes it difficult for the bird to eat properly, or to preen herself. If you have seen birds in the wild–those humble, beautiful pigeons, for example, who so gracefully and generously share living space with us—you will note what pleasure they take in grooming and preening. To be deprived of this simple, essential activity, along with no sunlight, no freedom of movement, no air to breathe but that which blisters the lungs—this is an abomination which we humans have visited on these birds.

The only mercy is that their lifespan is brief: within 3 to 5 months, the bird, engineered to grow at an abnormal pace, is ready to slaughter. ‘Stunning’ by electricity, before throat cutting, is supposedly ‘humane,’ at least the poultry industry calls it this—‘humane slaughter.’ We humans are good at inventing oxymorons. In truth, the electricity razors through the birds’ eyes, eardrums, and hearts, causing unbearable pain.

I have seen videos shot in turkey barns. Workers beat the birds with bars, just for the fun of it, as the poor things desperately try to crawl and scramble away on their wings. Birds constantly rub their burned-out eyes with their wings; the corneas look lacerated and raw.

I visited a sanctuary with some rescued turkeys. The poor creatures had been engineered into such grotesquerie that they were barely recognizable as turkeys: huge bodies on crippled feet. Made by Dr. Frankenstein—us. Maybe it’s symbolic that we humans are the Dr. Frankenstein’s of the animal world. Maybe it is an effort to exorcise the monster within.

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Over the River and through the Woods
Thomas Paine's Corner

(Four Thanksgiving Day Vignettes)

By David Irving


I was of three minds as I learned that cows in the slaughterhouses were having their feet cut off and their hides torn from their bodies while they were still alive and conscious.

My first mind filled with grief for the suffering animals that had been so severely abused and disrespected. How I longed to offer them comfort and remove their suffering.

Rage filled my second mind against those who committed these atrocities. But the rage melted into thoughtfulness as I considered the conditions of the workers forced to do this nightmarish deed, killing one animal after the other hour upon hour upon hour, day after day, week after week, month in and month out, year after year.

My third mind turned to the greedy industrialists responsible for creating this hell. They are the ones responsible for the suffering of the animals, the deplorable condition of the workers, and the contamination of the food supply that millions and millions of Americans consume. As machines remove the hides from animals, chunks of dirt and manure fall from the animals to contaminate the meat. The contents of the digestive systems are also prone to spill out onto the meat. The speed employed on the production line to meet the standards demanded by the food producers ensures that this will happen. According to Schlosser, “at the IBP (Iowa Beef Packers – presently Tyson Fresh Meat, Inc.) slaughterhouse in Lexington, Nebraska, the hourly spillage rate at the gut table has run as high as 20 percent, with stomach contents splattering one out of five carcasses.” No wonder he says there is shit in the hamburgers people consume. Years ago a hamburger at a restaurant likely came from the same side of beef. Today, the fast food restaurant hamburger can contain meat from dozens, even hundreds of different animals due to the way the beef is transported and mixed at assembly sites. The risk of contamination is great. So is the chance that a hamburger contains cow shit.

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  1. For my part, T-Day was meat-free. Pasta casserole was the entree. Going for the leftovers now. Later....

  2. I'm glad to see another joining the small but growing crowd.