Flailing in Blood:A Turkey's Plea For Life   
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The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. The fourth Thursday of every November is a holiday in the US called Thanksgiving where celebrants give thanks for the blessings in their lives.

The first Thanksgiving was observed in 1621 in a place that is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA by the Pilgrims, or English settlers, and the indigenous people from the Wampanoag Nation. During this time of appreciating loved ones and life, there are sadly some beings that suffer horrible atrocities due to a tradition of eating turkey and other animal products on this auspicious day. A Thanksgiving family reunion with meat on the table cannot be called joyful when it comes at the price of the anguished death of our fellow beings.

We've got one thing very, very wrong about this day of Thanksgiving and that's – the turkey. Turkeys are our friends, they're not our food. These are amazing animals who are very swift-footed, they’re used to running fast distances, they're highly intelligent, they look after their young and we've reduced their lives to utter misery in these appalling factory farms. Thousands of turkeys living horribly cruel life, they’re confined indoors, they're bred so they’re so heavy they can hardly walk, they can’t even breed naturally anymore.

Every year in the US alone, 40 million turkeys are butchered for Thanksgiving, 20 million for Christmas and 19 million for Easter. To keep up with demand during the holiday season, some slaughterhouses employ temporary workers to wring the necks of turkeys in order to kill more turkeys per hour.

Birds feel pain and suffering just like you and I. Their beaks are sensitive. They care about their families. But in the turkey industry, just like the chicken industry, what we say is from “shell to hell.” From the time that they were born and come out of the shell until the time they die, it’s miserable.

One behavior shown by turkeys that clearly demonstrates their deeply caring, loving nature is “the great wake,” in which a group of turkeys mourns the loss of a companion, with some being so overcome with grief that they also die due to shock. The barbarous treatment of these affectionate, intelligent animals on factory farms demonstrates the enormous insensitivity of humans.

Now let us look at the life cycle of a turkey on a factory farm. The vicious cruelty begins with the insemination of females. Once the baby turkeys, or poults, are hatched, their horrific lives commence. The following excerpt is from a documentary about a 2006 investigation of a North Carolina, USA turkey hatchery by the US-based animal advocacy organization, Compassion Over Killing. The footage clearly depicts the savageries committed by the turkey industry.

What you are about to see reveals the treatment of newly-hatched turkeys at the facility. From the moment they hatch, chicks endure rough handling and are treated like inanimate objects. Chicks may get trapped between the trays of the sorting machine, often resulting in severe injury and death. Many are left for hours to suffer and die from their injuries. Mis-sorted birds fall into the disposal bin along with discarded egg shells and are killed. Others get caught on the machine.

Sick and injured chicks are tossed into containers and left to suffer for hours, sometimes overnight. They are later dumped with healthy, “surplus” chicks into the disposal bin to be killed. Some newly-hatched chicks are suffocated in plastic bags and sent for testing. They die slowly as they struggle to breathe.

The poults undergo extremely painful procedures without any anesthetics to minimize their pain or antiseptics to prevent infections. The sickening practices include de-snooding of male poults. The snood is a sensitive, fleshy and nerve-filled piece of skin that grows out from the forehead and if left in place, grows long enough to hang over the beak of an adult male. The snood may be violently ripped off by hand or cut away with scissors. Males may also have the ends of their toes sliced off or burned away using microwaves.

Producers amputate part of the upper section of beak. It is painful, done without anesthetic and may result in lifelong pain.

Another farm but a similar story: overcrowded, highly stressed juveniles who have no outlet. Just the tip of the upper beak is supposed to be removed.

Sadly, for many of the birds in this shed, it is barbaric, uncaring, total amputation.

The poults are crammed in windowless, dark sheds where they are fed pellets formulated to induce quick weight gain. As a result of the intense feeding regime and the fact that they have been genetically altered to grow six-times as fast as they normally would with larger breasts and thighs, the exploited turkeys are extremely unhealthy. They experience severe health conditions such as liver disease and heart failure. The excessive weight gain they experience also causes lameness as their frail legs can’t support their bodies, so some die of starvation and thirst because they’re unable to reach their food and water sources.

Turkeys are kept jammed in these sheds 12 to 26 weeks, during which time urine and feces on the floor build up to horrendous levels. The waste produces ammonia which causes intense irritation and burns a bird’s feet, eyes, breast, rear and throat. These utterly sordid conditions cause the spread of diseases, such as E. coli, salmonella, Campylobacter, Turkey Rhinotracheitis as well avian influenza viruses, thus adding to the animals’ tremendous suffering.

Regular kills are done by workers armed with metal rods who walk through the sheds, startle the birds, beat those too sick to be sold to death, and then throw their bodies into trash cans. When the turkeys reach slaughter weight they’re grabbed by any available appendage and roughly stuffed into crates, which often results in broken wings and legs and other severe injuries. Up to 2,000 birds may then be loaded onto a truck and transported long distances to the slaughterhouse without food, water, veterinary care or adequate protection from the elements.

Our investigator gained employment at the facility and worked on the “live hang deck,” which is where trucks come in with the birds in crates. They come from the turkey farms where they live in huge sheds packed wing to wing, living in their own feces in these huge windowless warehouses oftentimes. And what he documented is they arrive at this facility and the workers take these frightened birds who are flailing and screaming, rip them out by their legs and snap them by their fragile limbs into these moving shackles which take the birds upside down, fully conscious, and still alive through a process.

And the first stage after they’ve been slapped into these moving shackles is their heads are taken through a pool of electrified water. And what this water does is it paralyzes the birds temporarily so that they can’t move and then a rotating blade slits their throat. And the investigation found these birds flailing about, blood all over their feathers, and this form of slaughter is standard. This is how the eight billion or more chickens in this country and the over 200 million turkeys in this country are killed every single year. So that’s the day to day operations at this facility, subjecting these birds to enormous cruelty.

One of the problems with this slaughter system is that some of these birds will go into the scalding hot feather removal tanks of water while they’re still conscious because their throats either weren’t slit at all or the birds hadn’t bled out or they weren’t dead yet by the time they reached these tanks of water. So some of these birds go into the water while they’re still alive.

There is a way to halt the revolting and absolutely disgusting mistreatment of turkeys that we’ve seen today: adopting an organic vegan diet. Thanksgiving can then truly be a holiday of happiness.

Every November, during that certain holiday, people take a dead turkey, take some stuffing and shove it inside. Now I tell people one of my favorite meals nowadays, yams. Dish me up a plate of yams for dinner, I'm a happy guy. I tell them this, they're like, "You just eat yams for dinner? I don’t know man. That's kind of weird." Okay, but somebody else's ribcage sitting on your plate isn't weird? Severed legs and sliced up thighs, mutilated breasts on your plate isn't weird? Doesn't make you think twice?

Animal proteins are so hard on your system. It’s not natural for us to eat them. There’s nothing good or beneficial about eating turkeys, especially for the turkeys.

I've had two turkeys with me, notice the smile. They're the love of my life, Roger and Carey. I've had these two rescued turkeys since they were chicks. If you know these animals, you can’t help but respect them, love them, cherish them, they're just so special.

If you want to celebrate the day of pilgrims arriving in America, then you should do it in the way of celebrating life, and not celebrating death and the turkey shouldn’t be the center point.

So this Thanksgiving, really let’s make it about thanksgiving and be thankful for these wonderful animals that we share our planet with. Where would we be without the animals? And as a human, it’s never been more important that we share the planet, our lives, our respect and our love with the animals. Be Veg, Go Green 2 Save the Planet!

Our sincere thanks, Jason Baker, Nathan Runkle, Gary Yourofsky, Patty Mark as well as VIVA! and Compassion Over Killing volunteers for strongly promoting animal welfare. You are all true protectors of life and we salute you for your beautiful work.

For more information on safeguarding the lives of turkeys and other animals, please visit the following websites:
Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow www.ADAPTT.org
Animal Liberation Victoria www.ALV.org.au
Compassion Over Killing www.COK.net
Mercy For Animals www.MercyForAnimals.org
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals www.PETA.org
Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (VIVA!) www.VIVA.org.uk

Thank you for your presence today on Stop Animal Cruelty. May all enjoy a joyous, vegan Thanksgiving.

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