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Another view on turkeys

Story ID:3236
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Raeford N.Carolina USA
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In response to Lauren S's poem on TURKEYS where she asks a rhetorical question - "I like to eat turkey, what about you?' Two people answered yes. My answer is no. When I went to Yahoo to find out if the number of vegetarians/vegans had increased since I became one 30 years ago, I'm
not sure if the 6.7% number is accurate though it probably does show a greater increase from the possibly 3.5% of the 70's I read about at another site.

But I did enjoy the comments I found at this site re this topic. The first (Mary)
represents mine, but don't worry- I will also quote from Scully who probably represents the majority view if you are a meat-eater.

Mary wrote:
"I would say most people eat meat because they do not consider the negative impact of what they are doing. When an individual sits down to
consume meat, they rarely think about the animal it once was but, instead, how delicious it now is.
Another reason-- as others have said (at this site) is that the majority of Americans are raised from birth to eat meat and it is very hard to independently convince yourself that your parents and peers are incorrect about eating meat. Along those lines, being vegetarian or vegan is not the cultural norm, and it is hard for many to break away from that barrier and do what they may truly think is right.
Lastly, the majority of opinions on this subject are uninformed and believe that the only way to a healthy, well-balanced diet is to consume meat. Furthermore, most people are not aware of the gruesome situations in factory farms, slaughterhouses, laboratories, etc. This is unfortunate, and the reason (it should be) a priority of vegetarians and vegans to raise

Now for those chomping on the bit -- wanting to give "their" side, here is Scully who may or may not represent your thinking:
" ......'Vegetarianism' carries a number of meanings for different people as does vegan(ism). The "reasons" are historical. Amer-European culture is "meat-based." Plant-based diets were inextricably tied to religious/
spiritual practices. And those religions are usually Eastern.
Such practices are not part of Christianity, the predominating religion of Amer-European culture. There also is availabililty of meat and dairy that is more predominate in Amer-European lands because of lush grassy meadows, open expanses of plains, and presence of animals that were used for meat, clothing, etc. from the beginning of their existence."
He than launches into " flexitarian" vegetarians and veganism which I was not interested in reading -- though he believes that accepting these statistics will significantly lower the percentage of vegetarians and vegans
BECAUSE FANATICS OF ANY KIND RARELY CHANGE. (This is a low blow by any measure.)
His final statement "Make no mistake about it, vegetarianism and veganism are defintely on the decline as lifestyles changes. The old ideas of vegetarian/vegan work in an agrarian society, or with sedentary lifestyles, better than the more mobile lifestyles of today. Make no mistake about it-- V & V in American culture are becoming as extinct as dinosaurs."

First, I think he is completely wrong about V & V becoming extinct. I believe that in fact it is growing stronger as people are reading more and more about the health benefits, the cruelty
suffered by factory farm animals and the effects of meat-eating on global warming. At least the statistics bear me out. Also where it is interesting to make a Christian meat-eating parallel to the Eastern religions' plant-eaters, I prefer to see it as not so much "Christian"
as Thomistic (Utility Principle). I believe that I read somewhere that Aquinas was more influenced by the meat-eating Aristotle than the gentle vegetarian Pythogoras.

Secondly, Scully obviously has not read or heard about the real threat of a meat-based diet on the environment. The amount of meat eaten by our
forbears was considerably less - much less. We are decimating rain forests to make pasture land for cattle who expell huge amounts of methane green house gases into the air. Has he not heard that cow-raising also depletes our water and grain reserves?

You know what -- I am sure that I or others much more qualified like researchers Eshel and Martin of Chicago Univ. will never convince him or any
others of his ilk re the serious threat to our environment- let alone our health. So all we can do is try to convince those who have an open mind to realize that if we continue to ignore the detrimental effects re our animal-based diets, then we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

And just yesterday I received the Compassionate Living newsletter from Mercy for Animals. I would like to copy here part of their piece entitled "The Noble Turkey."

"In recent years, university studies have documented discernible avian and poultry intelligence. A 2005 research paper published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience acknowledges and attest to the overwhelming evidence that
avian and mammalian brains are remarkably similar.
The study found that 75 percent of a bird's brain is an intricately wired mass that processes much in the same way as the vaunted human cerebral cortex. (So much for the deprecating name - bird brain!)
Poultry specialist, Dr. Ian Duncan of the University of Guelph, Ontario, states that "turkeys possess marked intelligence as revealed by such behavioral indices at their complex social relationships and their many different methods of communicating with each other, both visual and vocal."
Benjamin Franklin acknowledged such traits and had tremendous respect for turkeys' resourcefulness, agility, and beauty, calling them 'true American originals.' "

The newsletter also vividly portrays the terrible cruelties experienced by these birds when they arrive at the House of Raeford's poultry slaughter-house in Raeford, North Carolina. "Sam" went undercover to document
their fate and his story is entitled "The House of Horror." Anyone interested in his courageous and painful account of what these poor birds went through can probably find it at the Mercy for Animals internet site.

I "saved" one tiny success for one tiny rescue. "Cecilia" was rescued by an MFA investigator who found her lying in the front of her battery cage as her eight cagemates trampled her tiny body. She was sick and weak from
dehydration. Her skin was covered with scars and scabs and her wing was infected. Treated by an avian veterinarian, she is now fully
recovered and will enjoy the rest of her life in a beautful sanctuary --free from the exploitation of the battery cage.