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Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc.
38 East Market Street, Rhinebeck, New York 12572 USA -  845-876-2626
Vegetarian - Vegan - Animal Rights - Health - Nutrition - Environment

The mission of the Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society, Inc. is to promote the vegetarian ethic in the Mid-Hudson (New York) region, educate the community and aid anyone in the pursuit of a totally vegetarian (vegan) cruelty-free and healthful lifestyle.

Articles - Letters - and More

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is only weeks away and once again a holiday that is so associated with the eating of a specific animal that it is often called "Turkey Day" and pictures of the birds are used over and over in ads, decorations, recipes and all kinds of references to the holiday. At Mid-Hudson vegetarian Society we ask you to take a few minutes, read this article and consider going "Turkey Free in 2003".

Do you eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Almost certainly, yes.

Do you think about how that turkey lived and died? Probably not.

We know the turkeys we eat were once alive, but most people do not know how they lived. Here are five facts about the lives of farmed turkeys.

1. They are kept in cages, so they canít run around and peck at the ground for food. So, they peck at each other. The growers "debeak" them using hot irons and no anesthesia. What if your fingernails were pulled out if you got in a fight?

2. They are injected with antibiotics because their crowded conditions breed disease. What if you had to get a shot because your school hallways or workplace were too crowded?

3. They get hormone shots so they will grow faster than their genetics decree (most people want mostly turkey breast). The turkeys grow so fast that the stress on their bones causes much pain. What if it was decided no one could get hired or attend school unless he or she were at least 6í 5" and 300 pounds?

4. Crowded together in their cages, their waste products fall to the floor. Ammonia fumes are formed which they and the workers breathe constantly. What if their were no restroom at work or school ?Ė (letís not go there)

5. At the beginning of their lives baby turkeys never see their mothers who would protect and care for them. At the end of their short, sad, unnatural and painful lives they are transported to the slaughterhouse in unheated or unairconditioned trucks without food or water. What if you never knew your family and were cold and uncomfortable all your life?

Many might answer: "Thatís true, but how can you have Thanksgiving without a turkey?" We had mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing (it does not have to be made inside a turkey) cranberries, several kinds of vegetables and pumpkin pie along with many other desserts made without animal products. Some people use a "tofurkey" (made with tofu) but others don't feel a need to replace the turkey as there are do many delicious dishes from which to choose. In addition to being delicious, a vegan Thanksgiving is cholesterol free, lower in total fat and high in fiber. We are thankful for each other and that no animals have to die in order for us to celebrate.

There is much cruelty in the raising and slaughter of all farmed animals today. In the United States we kill 10,000,000,000 animals for food each year. No, that is not a misprint. Ten Billions cattle, chickens, ducks, turkeys, lambs and pigs are killed each year. This count does not even include fish who also feel pain and suffer.

Do you want to learn more about this? Here are some websites to check out: United Poultry Concerns, Inc www.upc-online.org here is an excerpt from a longer article on their website Ė more sites listed at the end

Like their wild relatives, domestic turkeys are unsuited to the harsh turkey confinement systems in which 15,000 or more birds with three square feet of floor space each are forced to sit and stand in filthy litter, breathing burning ammonia fumes and lung-destroying dust. They develop respiratory diseases, ulcerated feet, blistered breasts, and ammonia-burned eyes.

They're loaded with vaccines, antibiotics, sulfonamides, mycins, and tetracyclines. In 1991, International Hatchery Practice reported that, "[T]he last decade has thrown up numerous examples of new diseases" in turkeys including rhinotracheitis, paramyxovirus 2, and Salmonella enteritidis -- a major new bacterial source of human food poisoning that can cause arthritis, blood disease, impaired immunity, and death. The weekly agribusiness newspaper Feedstuffs (Sept. 9, 1991) says turkeys now suffer from a "combination of problems." For example, "[I]n recent years turkeys have been bred to grow faster and heavier but their skeletons haven't kept pace. They have problems standing, and fall and are trampled on or seek refuge under feeders."

Pathologically obese, commercially-bred turkeys develop congestive heart and lung disease accompanied by engorged coronary vessels, distended fluid-filled pericardial sac, abdominal fluid, and a gelatin-covered enlarged congested liver. Their hearts explode. Consumers could eat a diseased turkey or turkey part for dinner. In November 1991, the Associated Press reported that "Researchers are looking for ways to keep afflicted birds alive long enough to get them to market."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals www.peta.org
The Fund for Animals www.fund.org
Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) www.farmusa.org
Compassion Over Killing www.cok.net

We look forward to hearing from you

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The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation

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