WHAT ARE YOU MOANING ABOUT NOW LEE?
IT IS! MY FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR!
Fabulous! Which animal's life are you going to end this year?
I assume you're going to be having Christmas dinner?
And you're not vegan?
So which innocent animal's corpse is going to be stuffed, dressed, and served up on your
dinner plate this year?
ERM... TURKEY PROBABLY.
A turkey's corpse! Right. And why a turkey?
IT'S TRADITION ISN'T IT?
So's bullfighting. You going to slaughter a bull while you pull your cracker?
What about whaling? Are you going to tuck into a whale with your cranberry sauce?
What about a dog? Could go down well with some marrowfat peas...
Why not? It's 'tradition'!
NO IT'S NOT!
For many people around the world it is.
Is it, why? Why is YOUR tradition ok but other traditions aren't?
Do you think, just because we've labelled something as 'tradition', that it's therefore morally justified?
Ok. Do you think it's immoral to continue doing something you already know is cruel and unnecessary?
I GUESS SO.
Ok. So do you think we have a duty, because we have moral agency, that once we realise something is
cruel and unnecessary, we should stop taking part in it?
OF COURSE, BUT I CAN'T SEE PEOPLE STOPPING THIS ONE.
People are already stopping this one.
More and more people are starting to realise that outdated habits and traditions like this
do not morally justify the murder of other sentient beings.
Some people are afraid to go 'against the grain' and let go of cultural traditions because
they're conditioned to them.
They've been brought up with them, their families have always done them therefore they
feel it must be ok to continue doing them.
They see the ending of tradition as a 'rejection of our culture'. Some even see it as an attack on their identity.
ISN'T IT THEN?
No. It's all a load of b****cks. Most traditions are cruel, tired habits we've continued doing since
the stone age, because society and the money-makers continue to tell us to.
And we lap it up, all in an attempt to try and make our lives seem a little bit less depressing
than they already are.
I BET YOU'RE FUN AT PARTIES.
Says the person who cooks an animal's corpse in front of his nan.
MY NAN'S DEAD.
I bet you're fun at parties.
We LOVE outdated traditions. We're insane. We all need help.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
Take Valentine's Day for example. We celebrate the day a maniac massacred lots of diners
and their loved ones in a restaurant, by TAKING OUR LOVED ONES OUT TO A RESTAURANT.
Guy Fawkes' Day - the day another maniac attempted to blow-up parliament.
Rather than celebrate the FAILURE of this mass murder attempt, we like to morbidly recreate what could have happened, by burning fake, homemade men on large fires;
whilst letting off fireworks, (traumatising our pets and local wildlife), as we poorly attempt to reenact the explosion that should have taken place.
I'm surprised we don't celebrate Jack The Ripper's Birthday every year!
THAT'S CUZ NO ONE KNOWS WHEN HIS BIRTHDAY WAS.
Yes. That's why.
SO WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS/THANKSGIVING?
For that, we cut down thousands and thousands of trees, only to discard them weeks later alongside
murdering many, many, many beautiful animals.
As well as chickens, geese and ducks yes. Most so-called 'traditions' have a victim involved.
Look at this list of other immoral 'traditions' where animals are needlessly and violently tortured and killed:
Taiji dolphin hunt
Faroe Islands’ pilot whale drive
Gadhimai festival of sacrifice
Wild bird hunting
Burning The Bull Festival
The Pero Palo Festival in Villaneuva de la Vera
The Rapa das Bestas Festival (Spanish for 'Beast rape')
Garrotting The Galgos
The Day Of The Geese in Lekeito
Goat tossing in Manganeses de la Polyorosa
I'VE NEVER HEARD OF HALF OF THESE!
If you're feeling brave one afternoon, click on a few. It's an education.
JUST CLICKED ON ONE... CHRIST!
Yep. These still happen today and all fall under the label of 'traditions'. There's tons more out there too.
Animals are NOT treated well by us humans. At all. I feel so sorry for them.
Despite it being 'tradition', why else do you think you eat turkeys?
BECAUSE THEY'RE TASTY!
What do you think is more important, your tastebuds or the life of an animal?
THE LIFE OF AN ANIMAL.
Prove it. Stop eating turkeys.
What does that mean Noddy?
WELL, YOU KNOW. IT'S WHAT YOU DO ISN'T IT?
I don't. I don't kill or eat anyone that was alive several weeks ago, just because 'it's Christmas'.
Yes. Did you know every turkey killed and eaten is just a baby?
'One month old, downy feathers, eyes still blue, little peeps instead of clucks...
They're curious of us, and the sun and sky that they've never witnessed before'
- Animal Sentience Project
Is that what Christmas means to you? Killing baby animals?
OF COURSE NOT.
What does it mean to you then?
PRESENTS AN THAT?
Christmas, 'traditionally', is a selfless time where we are meant to think about others, where we forgive,
take stock of what's important and become 'better' versions of ourselves. Supposedly.
It's not a time for paying someone to kill an innocent animal,
all for one 15 minute meal,
on one day of the year.
MY FAMILY ARE ALL EATING TURKEY. THEY'LL EXPECT ME TO.
Your family will also expect you to be a compassionate, kind and benevolent human being would they not?
YES, I GUESS SO.
They'd also want to believe you are a person that wouldn't cause any harm or suffering to another living being right? That you're a person who would take care of someone more vulnerable than you and that you would stand up for someone being hurt or caused needless harm.
Does that go for animals too?
I GUESS SO
There we go then. By not paying money for a turkey to be electrocuted and to have their throat slit,
you are being that person.
BUT WHEN I BUY IT, IT'S DEAD ALREADY?
The turkeys you see in the shops will already be dead yes. But they'll also be transformed so that they don't look like turkeys (trust me, if they still had their feathers and heads attached -
everyone would go plant-based!)
But by purchasing one of their corpses, you are calling for a replacement turkey to be abused and killed.
You're saying to Tesco, "Please replace this turkey with another."
Tesco will then go to their suppliers and say, "Please replace this turkey with another."
The suppliers will then go to the farmers and say, "Please replace this turkey with another."
And yet another infant turkey will be selected and sent to a slaughterhouse to die painfully and horribly.
ALL BECAUSE YOU'VE SAID SO.
It all starts with you. With your morals, your compassion (if you have any) and your money.
Besides, if you knew what you were paying for, if you knew what the animals had been through
to get to your plate, you wouldn't buy them.
WHY, WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN THROUGH?
More on that in a minute. First, let me tell you how AWESOME turkeys are...
GO ON THEN.
Here's 10 facts:
1) Turkeys are highly intelligent, social animals, they're affectionate and they love to play!
They enjoy having their feathers stroked and like listening to music, with which they’ll often loudly sing along!
2) Males turkeys' necks change colour depending on their mood!
Their colors can change from red to blue to white, depending on how excited or calm they are.
The more intense the colors are, the more intense their emotions.
3) Female turkeys don't gobble - they purr! Only the males gobble!
4) Wild turkeys are strong fliers (55 miles an hour!) and can fly in short distances (most people think they can't). They can run 35 miles an hour and travel across wide areas in search of food
however 90% of turkeys today are intensively reared for their meat in cramped,
windowless sheds with zero sunlight.
5) Turkeys have three-times better eyesight than we do! They can also see in color,
and their eyesight covers 270 degrees!
6) Abraham Lincoln’s son pleaded that the bird intended for Christmas dinner had a right to live,
just like any other creature, but it wasn’t until 1989 during George H.W. Bush’s administration
that the official pardoning ceremony started.
7) Snoods, the fleshy appendage that extends over a turkey’s beak, is for finding a suitable mate.
According to the Journal of Avian Biology, females (hens) prefer males (gobblers) with longer snoods,
and snood length can also be used to predict the winner of a competition between two males.
8) Wild turkeys sleep high up in trees!
9) Turkeys have great hearing, but no external ears!
10) One certain way to find out if a turkey is male or female is by checking their droppings.
A male’s poop will be shaped like the letter J, while the female’s is more spiral-shaped.
I shouldn't have to explain to you that turkeys are sentient beings. You should know already that
they have distinct and playful personalities and peculiarities. That they experience similar emotional states to humans, including fear, anxiety, frustration, boredom, pleasure and enjoyment.
I STILL HAVE TO EAT ONE AT CHRISTMAS LEE!
You don't HAVE to eat turkey at Christmas - no one is forcing you to but in the name of 'tradition',
if you really must...
LOOK AT ALL THESE ALTERNATIVES YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM!
ALL DELICIOUS, ALL A HELL OF A LOT HEALTHIER FOR YOU THAN ACTUAL, REAL ANIMALS AND ALL MADE FROM PLANTS - MEANING THAT NOT ONE ANIMAL WILL BE HARMED THIS CHRISTMAS, BY YOUR HANDS!
THEY DO LOOK GOOD!
They taste even better. No growth hormones, saturated fats, cholesterol or antibiotics in this lot!
PERHAPS THE TURKEY I CHOOSE WON'T HAVE BEEN ABUSED?
Good point. Perhaps they were one of the millions kept indoors under the AVIAN FLU RESTRICTIONS instead?
HALF of the UK's 'Free Range' turkeys have been culled or have died from bird flu already.
Richard Griffiths, chief executive of The British Poultry Council has confirmed that 600,000 out of around 1.3 million free range birds have died already.
Did you know it was recently allowed for farmers to kill and freeze turkeys, geese and ducks for long periods of time and sell them as 'fresh' closer to Christmas? This is to help producers avoid the risks of losing their flocks in a cull or because of the flu.
I'LL MAKE SURE MINE'S FREE RANGE!
No such thing. Turkeys, just like chickens, are as far from 'free' as you can get.
'Free range' is just something they stick on the label to convince you to buy them, to ease your conscience, and to make you feel better for purchasing and eating these birds.
It gives you a sense of comfort when you're told these birds were 'happy' and 'living their best life',
instead of being told the truth.
SO THEY'RE NOT 'FREE RANGE'?
They're more, 'ENSLAVED RANGE'.
SO WHAT'S THE TRUTH?
The truth is that 9 out of every 10 turkeys found on supermarket shelves will have come from filthy, overcrowded factory farms (holding up to 25,000 birds at a time),
each one responsible for unimaginable cruelty and suffering rarely seen by the public.
Yep. An estimated 245 million turkeys are raised and killed for their flesh every year in the U.S.
46 million turkeys are killed each year for 'Thanksgiving' alone and around
15 million turkeys are killed annually in the UK.
Every single bird is physically and emotionally tormented, having had all of their natural behaviours
ALL OF THEM?
ANY turkey you choose on the shelf, any of them, will have been confined, scared, slaughtered
and will have had their life taken from them needlessly.
YOU DON'T KNOW THAT.
How do you think the turkeys die?
I DON'T KNOW. QUICKLY?
You wish. You asked what turkeys go through?
YES. I REGRET IT NOW BUT I DID.
You ready? It's rough?
GO ON. HOW CAN WE LEARN IF WE DON'T KNOW?
Firstly, female turkeys are IMPREGNATED BY ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION.
WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
It's an invasive and terrifying experience for them. For any animal.
It entails a farmer holding a female turkey upside down and inserting a male turkey's sperm directly into her vagina using a syringe or tube. This violation often causes injuries.
HOW ON EARTH DO THEY GET THE MALE TURKEY'S SPERM?
Exactly how you think they do. Farmers masturbate the anal area until their phallus is erect.
THE TURKEY'S PHALLUS?
Yes the turkey's phallus...
That's just the start...
When born, THE CHICKS ARE HATCHED IN CRAMPED, ARTIFICIAL INCUBATORS
and are then immediately taken away.
WITH THEIR MOTHERS?
No. They never get to see their mothers. They instinctively search for them but they never get to meet them.
In nature, mothers are very protective of their babies.
LIKE ANY MOTHER IS.
Right. Did you know that in the wild, mother turkeys team up, as a group, to watch all of their babies?
It is. However here, the mothers never get to see their chicks, which is psychologically and
emotionally traumatising for them.
Because of this, the chicks cannot be protected or looked after and so are piled onto conveyor belts where they are handled roughly by workers who check them over to see if each chick is healthy and 'profitable'.
Any pieces of shell stuck to their fragile bodies is ripped off causing injuries and
if a chick is too small or sick, (viewed as waste products, deemed 'unprofitable' and titled, 'hatchery waste') they're ground up alive in a macerator or gassed to death - all while fully conscious.
ON THEIR FIRST DAY OF LIFE?
Yep. This goes for male chicks in the egg industry too.
For the ones that 'make it', it's even worse. The overcrowding and hunger also causes aggression and cannibalism which has to be controlled by 'beak trimming'.
Yep. The ends of their sensitive beaks are cut off. In this terrifying procedure, workers hold their faces up to a machine that uses an infrared beam or a hot blade to cut the beak.
They’re given no pain relief either, so they feel everything.
A portion of the toes of male chicks may also be removed, often resulting in wounds, blood loss, and pain.
The 'older' turkeys (they're all still infants aged between only 3 to 5 months old) are treated abhorrently and are bred, drugged and genetically manipulated, forcing them to grow as quickly, and as unnaturally, as possible.
Selective breeding of these unnaturally large, 'hybrid' turkeys with huge amounts of breast meat causes hip problems, chronic pain and an inability to mate naturally.
According to an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal on the miserable conditions on turkey farms,
"It’s common in a rearing house to find a dead bird surrounded by four others whose hearts failed after they watched the first one ‘fall back and go into convulsions, with its wings flapping wildly.'"
Due to the sheer amount of birds living in these stress-induced, filthy, cramped conditions (no more than 3.5 square feet of space per bird), many die of starvation as they're too stressed or unable to find food and water in the sheds they're kept in. These birds are known as ‘starve-outs.’
The turkeys that manage to survive, often get ammonia burns and ulcers on their feet and breasts caused by having to stand, or lay in their own faeces all day, every day. They're also prone to several illnesses and diseases such as crippling, lameness, bird flu, turkey rhinotracheitis and bacterial infections, amongst others.
PETA investigations have documented that workers punched and stomped on live turkeys and
slammed them against walls. At one facility, a farm manager bludgeoned young birds with what he called his "killing stick."
Yep. Kind and compassionate eh?
SO THE TURKEYS THAT ARE OK?
There are no turkeys that are 'ok'.
I MEAN, THE ONES THAT SURVIVE ALL THAT?
When turkeys reach the weight at which they’ll be slaughtered, the 'chosen ones' are grabbed by the
legs and thrown into tiny crates and taken to slaughterhouses.
Often, the birds sustain broken legs and severe bruising as a result of the rough handling and
many birds experience extremes of temperature, stress, suffocation and shock.
As many as 2,000 birds can be shoved into a single lorry and they’re transported for hours without food or water, through all weather extremes like frost, resulting in many deaths on this nightmarish journey.
Once there, the distressed birds are hung upside down by their weak and fragile legs and individually dragged, head first, through an electrically charged water bath (a 'stunning tank'),
which attempts to stun them and make them unconscious (however this fails more than it works, meaning each bird feels every inch of pain they are forced to endure)
WHY ARE THEY STUNNED?
The incomprehensible fear and stress each bird goes through means that adrenaline is pumped around the bird's body, which farmers know, affects the 'flavour'. They want to make sure the stress hormone isn't still in the birds' corpses when they go out to customers so they are stunned in an attempt to avoid this.
It also makes it easier for the slaughterhouse workers to kill the birds if they're stunned and unable to fight back.
The turkeys' throats are then slit on a circular blade before being placed in a scalding tank,
which is used to loosen their feathers.
If turkeys are not properly stunned, they often miss the blade and go straight into the tank,
without pain relief.
Turkeys can live for up to 10 years in nature, yet they suffer from the day they hatch,
until the harrowing day they’re slaughtered.
SO, ARE YOU SAYING WE SHOULD STOP CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS?
No. I'm saying we should stop slaughtering innocent baby animals to celebrate Christmas.
Turkeys are beautiful, highly intelligent, wondrous, individual and expressive animals and they should not endure lives of suffering in the cruel factory farming and animal agriculture industries,
all because of us and our simple taste preferences. It's unjustifiable.
The best way to help turkeys and other animals this Christmas, and all year round, is by going vegan.
If you're a so-called 'animal lover' - put your money where your mouth is.
By rejecting the cruelty that takes place in hatcheries, factory farms, abattoirs and slaughterhouses, and by making some easy and delicious changes when you prepare dinner (it's not as if you don't have the choice!), you’ll be sparing the lives of nearly 200 animals a year.
Just try it. Remove all unnecessary violence from your life this Christmas and I guarantee you,
you'll feel all the better for it!
Don't do it for you, do it for them. For the voiceless.
Hello! Lee Brace here! Award-winning actor, comedian, writer, photographer and vegan.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org