"Humane" Turkey Slaughter
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Free From Harm
November 2011

I'm writing to wish you a Happy pre-Thanksgiving, my friends, family and extended acquaintances! I believe Thanksgiving is a perfect time for expressing our gratitude by doing something KIND for one of the most vulnerable among us: the 49 million turkeys raised for Thanksgiving Day.

I've got some great resources for turkey-free entrees that I will get to later, but first I want to address the question of the so called "humane" turkey which I get a lot of questions about.

To be completely frank, I can't tell you what a betrayal these so-called humane claims are. Please don't take my word for it. If you need more proof, I suggest (with caution) that you watch a four-minute video depicting in detail how turkeys and chickens are "processed" in what is commonly referred to as "the kill cone method," which incidentally is commonly marketed as the most "humane" method. I say, with caution, since it is easily one of the most shockingly cruel and barbaric things I have ever witnessed, and I have seen a lot! If you can brave this truth, watch "Humane" Turkey Slaughter.

In the kill cone method, the fully-conscious and terrified bird is stuffed down a long funnel, his neck is pulled through the narrow opening at the bottom, his neck is slit, and he remains conscious for up to 18 hours as he bleeds to death. All blood must be drained from his body or his flesh will taste bad. Then he is dropped into a scalding tank of boiling water to loosen his feathers (many are still conscious at this point). Then he is thrown into a "spinner" which appears to have metal claws all around it and his pathetic corpse flips around in it until all his feathers are plucked off.

Farmers rationalize this brutality by pointing out that the birds have no intelligence or capacity to feel pain or suffer in this processing. But I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I have learned through first hand observation as well as through peer-reviewed scientific research that these birds lead extremely complex social and emotional lives. Their pain receptors and nervous system are in fact much like those of mammals.

Now I know that some will invoke tradition as a reason for bringing a turkey to the Thanksgiving table, but there are many traditions that we have "modernized," abandoned and even outlawed because they are regarded as barbaric. As farm animals become increasingly commoditized, it is high time we re-evaluate "turkey day" and perhaps create a new meal tradition in it's place, one that is more consistent with grace and gratitude, one that is founded on kindness instead of violence. I hope that you will be exploring the many wonderful alternatives to turkey this Thanksgiving. And for that I would be truly thankful!

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