By Jenny Moxham
If Christmas is meant to be a time of peace and goodwill why do we inflict so much pain and suffering on our fellow sentient beings - particularly turkeys - at this time of the year?
Why is it that so many Christians - including the clergy - fail to see how nonsensical it is to be celebrating the birth of the "Prince of Peace" by torturing and slaughtering millions of inoffensive, peaceful animals?
Why do so many people fail to recognize the inconsistency in sending out cards with wishes for "Peace on Earth" then simultaneously supporting and partaking in violence by buying the corpse of some cruelly tortured animal to carve up and feast upon on Christmas day?
When Jesus walked upon the Earth he called on his followers to be loving, merciful and compassionate.
How is it compassionate to deprive turkeys of their beautiful world and
all semblance of a natural life and imprison them inside stinking, barren
How is it compassionate to deprive them of space and exercise?
Turkey sheds may house up to 14,000 birds and each turkey is allowed no more space an A3 sheet of paper. If a cat or dog were kept this way it would be illegal.
How is it merciful to cruelly subject baby chicks to agonizing mutilations? When turkeys are only few days old, part of their sensitive beak is agonizingly severed with a red hot blade.
And is it compassionate to deprive them of fresh air and force them to constantly breathe contaminated air that burns their eyes and lungs?
As the turkeys grow, so too does the layer of urine and feces that increasingly fills the air with ammonia.
This can cause respiratory and eye diseases and contribute to reduced food intake, weight loss and lameness. Bacterial infections and respiratory disorders are common problems and the birds may develop extremely painful burns on their legs and breasts.
Turkeys will often develop wounds which become infected after being smothered in excrement.
Since turkeys are abnormally bred to put on as much weight as possible in the shortest length of time they become susceptible to heart disease and experience great difficulty in supporting their overweight bodies. As a result they suffer painful swollen joints, degeneration of the hip joints and crippled legs and feet.
But the most terrifying time for turkeys is when they are taken away to be killed.
In the middle of the night workers suddenly burst into the sheds, grab them by their legs and cram them into crates. Many birds suffer broken bones in the process.
The crates are then loaded onto trucks, and the birds are transported in all weather conditions to the slaughterhouse.
Close to 2,000 turkeys can be loaded onto a single truck.
At the slaughterhouse, the terrified and loudly protesting birds are shackled upside-down by their weak and crippled legs before their heads are dragged through an electrified stunning tank, which immobilizes them but does not kill them.
Those who succeed in evading the tank are completely conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife fails to properly slit the birds' throats, they are boiled alive when immersed in the scalding tank.
Is this really what this time of "Peace and Goodwill" is meant to be about? Think about it.