Volume 91, Issue 25

Thursday, October 9, 1997

about face


Feathers fly over ethics of eating turkey this holiday

By Sara Marett
Gazette Staff

Before you gobble up your turkey this weekend, here is some food for thought about what you are eating.

Have you ever considered having Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey? The London Animal Association encouraged people to do so recently by hanging a banner from the Wellington Street overpass reading, "Holidays are murder for turkeys," said Florine Morrison, a member of the organization.

Thanksgiving is originally about giving thanks for the harvest and eating vegetables – turkey was not involved at all, she said. "We should think about alternatives to eat rather than contributing to the suffering of animals."

There are approximately 2.7 million turkeys distributed to various grocery outlets by the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency during the months of September and October, said manager of administration Marg Krowchuk.

By slaughtering animals for our own consumption we are controlling nature, said Jacqui Barnes, a director for the Animal Alliance of Canada. She added animals are looked upon by society as commodities instead of living things.

"They are slaughtered at the prime of their lives – we don't do this to humans," she said. Society has genetically altered this species by breeding them to be fat for the consumer – they know exactly how to minimize the expense to maximize the profits – it is all about money, Barnes added.

However, an organization called Putting People First, which opposes animal rights activists, supports farmers and the human and ethical use of animals for mankind's consumption, said chair Patricia Thiessen.

"Animals don't have rights because they are not human beings. They do, however, have the right to be treated in a humane way when they are killed. They should be killed quickly and painlessly," Thiessen said.

Paul Banderzanden, vice-chair of the Ontario Turkey Producers Marketing Board, said they receive turkeys when they are a day old from a hatchery. They are then kept in barns with temperatures of 90F for 10 to 12 weeks until they grow to the desired size of the processing plant. "It's a fact of life – they are killed and slaughtered."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997