Written by PETA
Did Sarah Palin's recent interview in front of a turkey-slaughter operation almost cause you to lose your lunch? If so, you're not alone. Even conservative pundit Joe Scarborough says he may well skip the bird this year. With Thanksgiving upon us, here without further ado are PETA's top 10 reasons to pardon a turkey this holiday season:
10. If you wouldn't eat your cat, you shouldn't eat a turkey. As poultry scientist Tom Savage says, "I've always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings. The 'dumb' tag simply doesn't fit." They're as interesting and have personalities every bit as developed as those of any dog or cat.
When they're not forced to live on filthy factory farms, turkeys spend their days caring for their young, building nests, foraging for food, taking dust baths, preening themselves, and roosting high in trees. These social, playful birds relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck, and gobble along to their favorite tunes.
9. Factory farms deny turkeys everything that is natural and important to them. Ben Franklin called turkeys "true American originals." He had tremendous respect for their resourcefulness, agility, and beauty. In nature, turkeys can fly 55 miles an hour, run 25 miles an hour, and live up to four years. Yet turkeys raised for food are killed when they are only 5 or 6 months old. During their short lives, they will be denied even the simplest pleasures, such as running, building nests, and raising their young.
8. Turkey consumption might kill you. Turkey flesh is brimming with fat and cholesterol. Just one homemade patty of ground, cooked turkey meat contains a whopping 244 mg of cholesterol, and half of its calories come from fat. Turkey flesh is also frequently tainted with salmonella, campylobacter bacteria, and other contaminants. And a vegan meal won't leave you sprawled on the couch, belt buckle undone, barely able to move.
7. You may stave off bird flu apocalypse. Current factory-farm conditions are breeding grounds for disease. Turkeys are drugged and bred to grow so quickly that many become crippled and die from dehydration. Cooking meat should kill the bird flu virus, but it can be left behind on cutting boards and utensils and spread through something else you're eating.
6. Don't support their crack habit. Dosing turkeys with antibiotics to stimulate their growth and to keep them alive in filthy, disease-ridden conditions that would otherwise kill them poses even more risks for people who eat them. Leading health organizations—including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association—have warned that the factory farming industry is possibly creating long-term risks to human health through the spread of antibiotic-resistant supergerms. That's why the use of drugs to promote growth in animals used for food has been banned for many years in Europe.
5. There are healthy, humane alternatives. Everyone can give thanks for animal-friendly holiday meals such as Tofurky, Celebration Roast, and Garden Protein's new Veggie Turkey Breast With Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing. PETA's scrumptious holiday recipes will please every palate and make it easier to give up the giblets.
4. Eating birds supports cruelty to animals.When the time comes for slaughter, turkeys are thrown into transport trucks. At the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside-down and their heads are dragged through an electrified "stunning tank," which immobilizes them but does not kill them. Many birds dodge the tank and are still conscious when their throats are cut. If the knife fails to properly cut the birds' throats, the birds are scalded to death in the defeathering tanks.
3. Turkey consumption is bad for the environment.Turkeys and other animals raised for food produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population—all without the benefit of waste-treatment systems. There are no federal guidelines to regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of concentrated, untreated animal excrement that they produce each year.
2. Turkey farming contributes to human starvation. Turkeys have to be fed grains, soy, oats, and corn that could otherwise be fed to human beings. Only a fraction of the calories fed to a turkey are turned into meat calories. While there is ample and justified moral indignation about the diversion of 100 million tons of grain for biofuels, more than seven times as much (760 million tons) is fed to farmed animals so that people can eat meat. Is the diversion of crops to our cars a moral issue? Yes, but it's about one-eighth the issue that meat-eating is.
And the number one reason to give the birds a break:
1. Factory-farmed turkeys have nothing to be thankful for.On factory farms, turkeys live for months in sheds where they are packed so tightly that flapping a wing or stretching a leg is nearly impossible. They stand mired in waste; urine and ammonia fumes burn their eyes and lungs. To keep the birds from killing one another in these crowded conditions, parts of the turkeys' toes and beaks are cut off, as are the males' snoods (the flap of skin under the chin). All this is done without any pain relievers.
A PETA investigator recently went undercover at a massive turkey-breeding facility in West Virginia and documented workers stomping on turkeys, punching them, beating them with pipes and boards, and twisting their necks repeatedly. One worker even bragged about shoving a broomstick down a turkey's throat because the bird had pecked at him. Our previous investigations show that such gratuitous abuse is the norm on turkey farms.
Check out VegCooking.com for tasty alternatives that will allow the turkeys to give thanks this Holiday season along with you and your family.
Written by Bruce Friedrich
Elizabeth Hurley is making headlines—and no, not because of her hot acting career (Ha ha ha! Right.). No, Liz's fame has had a renaissance because she is the only living "celebrity" apparently willing to front Blackglama's old "What Becomes a Legend Most" ad campaign. (We have another take on Blackglama's ad, but that's another story.)
But wait—"Legend"? Who, exactly, is a legend here? Seriously—in the days when people thought fur coats came from animals who died in their sleep on fluffy pillows, Blackglama got major starlets like Catherine Deneuve, Judy Garland, and Elizabeth Taylor to pose for their ads. But that was eons ago, and now Blackglama has to resort to using a 41-year-old actress whose last successful movie was almost 10 years ago. As PETA Europe's own Robbie LeBlanc said of Liz's new gig, "Her wardrobe is now as dead as her film career."
This news, of course, follows stories of stylists having to lie to (*cough* successful *cough*) fur-free actresses about the faux-ness of their fur. Fur is dead, ladies and gentlemen. Anyone who tells you otherwise is getting paid to do it.
I guess those DVDs of Serving Sara just don't pay the mortgage.
Written by Amanda Schinke
The moose-hunting, fur-wearing, pro-aerial-wolf-gunning governor is in the news again. On Thursday, Sarah Palin visited a turkey farm in Wasilla for the traditional pre-Thanksgiving turkey "pardoning." Now, most people probably don't think about exactly how the turkeys raised for Thanksgiving dinner every year meet their maker. But not to worry. Sarah has that under control. In this video, while responding to a reporter who asks about her post-election plans, Palin talks about how she wants to "promote a local business" and do something that won't "invite criticism." While turkeys are being slaughtered. Behind her. ON CAMERA.
Was that one of those "gotcha" questions, Sarah? Because it seems to me that showing the bloody reality of slaughter is just about the worst thing you could do to promote this business. Some people just won't want to eat turkey after watching—especially when this happened the day after PETA released new undercover video from the world's leading poultry-breeding facility. In that video, workers stomp on turkeys' heads, punch them, and bang their heads against metal scaffolding.
This is a country of people who love animals—in fact, numerous polls show that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that farmed animals deserve protection from abuse. The more that people are confronted with the ways that animals who are raised for food suffer—from the moment they're born until the moment they're killed—the more that people will start thinking about giving vegetarian meals a try. And then the factory farming industry will need a bigger bailout than the "Big Three."
Written by Dan Shannon
P.S.—Sarah Palin should take a cue from our own "President Bush," whose turkey-pardoning this year really was a "mission accomplished."
We have a bit of a history with Donna Karan. This might surprise you (OK, so it won't), but we don't like it when people tell us they're going to stop using fur and then go back on their word. That's why we like to visit Donna—at her apartment, at her fashion shows, and even on her runways. Eventually, we figure, she'll stick to her multiple promises to stop using fur—especially if consumers boycott her designs.
And that, my friends, is why you might see our posters around Donna's office and apartment in Manhattan. The posters show a woman's foot pressing on a rabbit's neck beside the tagline "Where Does Donna Karan Stand on Fur?" You can check out photos below—we hope they'll convince even more people to boycott Donna Karan, bunny butcher, until she sticks to her promise and dumps the fur once and for all.
Here's something. Today, George W. Bush "pardoned" a pair of turkeys, for whatever misdeeds they've been capable of packed into a filthy, windowless shed throughout their painful little lives. Two birds (out of the approximately 50 million turkeys who will have been killed for Thanksgiving this year) would at least be a start, if it weren't for the fact that the pardoned animals are usually sent to a place called "Frying Pan Park," which is about as unpleasant a retirement home for birds as it sounds. In case that isn't enough of a downer, the turkeys (who are morbidly obese because of the drugs they've been given to make them grow) aren't likely to live for more than a few months after their reprieve without specialized care. This year's lucky turkeys are being sent to Disneyland, to replace the turkeys who died last year shortly after their pardon. As we normally do around this time of year, PETA sent a letter to the president to point some of this stuff out. He hasn't gotten back to us yet, but we did get some good coverage of the story in the media, which you can check out here.
On a lighter note, I've been reading a bunch of stories recently about the increasing number of people who are going to be having themselves a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Fox news has a great article on the topic this week, and Business Week had a big piece on the success of Turtle Island Foods (which makes Tofurky products). The company "is turning a robust profit and expects $10 million in sales in 2006, despite dramatically lowering the cost of Tofurkys over the years." So, while this isn't exactly going to stop me from freaking out about the way turkeys are treated by companies like Butterball, it's pretty damn encouraging.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.