Little Goodwill for the Christmas Turkey

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Little Goodwill for the Christmas Turkey

By Jenny Moxham

Geelong Advertiser - oped
23rd December 

Why is my blood boiling?

It's boiling because it's Christmas and everyone's buying turkeys. Now I happen to like turkeys a lot too - but not stuffed, roasted and eaten - which is the way most people seem to like them.

Turkeys are friendly, intelligent animals who enjoy having their feathers stroked, listening to music and singing along with the music.

In the wild, turkeys love to fly and run and they live for up to 12 years - but the story’s very different for the abused birds on factory farms. In these grim establishments they will be killed when they are only 5 or 6 months old, and during their short lives, they will been denied even the most basic pleasures.

The suffering of the Christmas turkeys started well before thoughts of Christmas even entered our heads. As long ago as September these tragic "mother deprived" birds were discovering that their world consisted of a huge, gloomy, sunless, warehouse.

There was no dirt for them to scratch in. No fresh air to breathe. Just a large shed that seemed to grow increasingly smaller as they grew larger.

By November - when we were fighting for space in the car parks -they were fighting for space to move. What's more, the stench was becoming unbearable. It was so bad that the workers had to wear masks whenever they entered the shed.

The ammonia burned their lungs and it burned their eyes. The birds legs vanished amid the stinking litter and the ammonia also burned their hocks.

In late December, we were buying, and wrapping presents. The liquor cabinet was overflowing and the freezer bulging with food. There were Christmas parties galore and we were all having a ball - all except the turkeys, that is.

Whilst we were sending out last minute Christmas cards with wishes for "Peace and Goodwill", these pitiful creatures were being grabbed by the legs, stuffed into crates and transported to the slaughterhouse. As they hurtled along the road to their death, they would have got their first -and last - glimpse of the beautiful world in which they lived.

At the slaughterhouse the loudly protesting and frantically flapping turkeys would have been painfully clamped by their ankles to a conveyor belt, their heads would pass through an electric stunning bath and their throats would be cut by an automatic knife.

Many would miss the stunning bath and some would miss the knife. All would end up in a scalding tank and some would be boiled alive.

Come on folk! Isn't it time we all extended a little "Peace and Goodwill" to turkeys? After all - love really is what this season is meant to be all about.