20 Turkeys Liberated by the Animal Rights Militia
Tires Also Slashed
on Mobile Slaughterhouse
Los Angeles: In an anonymous communique
obtained by the North American Animal Liberation Press Office today,
liberation activists with the Animal Rights Militia in Vermont claim to have
liberated 20 turkeys, whose deaths were imminent. The group also claims to
have slashed the tires of a mobile abattoir while a driver smoked in the
The anonymous communique reads in full:
During the early
morning hours of November 14th, members of VT ARM liberated 20 turkeys that
had been cruelly forced into a small pen without shelter. The pen had been
set up along side a road as a marketing ploy. The decision to liberate the
turkeys was made after it was learned that they were to be murdered that
morning. It took the extraction team less than 5 minutes to breach the fence
and liberate the turkeys. As a parting gift members of ARM slashed the tires
of the mobile slaughter house, which had been parked less then 20 meters
away, while the drive sat in the front seat smoking. Uncle Sam spent
thousands training us to be the best and now those who think they can profit
off the suffering of animals will learn that we are. We will use whatever
means necessary to liberate animals, prevent cruelty and punish those who
commit acts of cruelty. To the Bushway criminals, Happy Thanksgiving.
The communique refers in its last line to the Bushway Packing slaughter
plant, which was shuttered by USDA officials earlier this year after an
undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed
day-old calves being kicked, beaten, and electrically shocked as they
struggle in vain to stand and workers angrily cursing as the tormented
animals collapse to the ground. Christopher Gaudette, 37, an employee of the
now-closed plant in Grand Isle, entered the plea to a felony count of animal
cruelty after being accused of excessively shocking a downed calf, throwing
a calf and pouring water on one and then shocking it. He received merely a
suspended sentence of one to three years, with 30 days to serve on a state
work crew, while co-owner of Bushway, Frank Perretta, was fined $2,000 and
given a suspended sentence of up to one year after pleading no contest to a
misdemeanor animal cruelty charge in October.
turkeys are selectively bred to grow extremely large and fast, painfully
de-beaked and de-toed, raised in crowded, filthy conditions, and fed diets
designed to make them gain more weight. Over a quarter billion turkeys are
hatched in the U.S. annually. These birds are typically crowded by the
thousands into huge, factory-like warehouses where they can barely move.
Shortly after hatching, turkeys have the ends of their beaks cut off, and
also have the ends of their toes clipped off, mutilations performed without
anesthesia, ostensibly to reduce injuries that result when stressed birds
are driven to fighting.
Similar to broiler chickens, factory-farmed
turkeys are prone to heart disease and leg injuries as a consequence of
their grossly-overweight bodies. An industry journal laments that:
Turkeys have been bred to grow faster and heavier but their skeletons
haven't kept pace, which causes 'cowboy legs'. Commonly, the turkeys have
problems standing and fall and are trampled on or seek refuge under feeders,
leading to bruises and downgradings as well as culled or killed birds.
Turkeys are taken to the slaughterhouse in crates stacked on the backs
of open trucks. During transport, the birds are not protected from weather
conditions, and a percentage of the birds are expected to die en route.
Birds freeze to death in winter, or die from heat stress and suffocation in
warm weather. It is 'cheaper' for the industry to transport the birds in
open crates without adequate protection, despite high mortality rates. Upon
arrival at the slaughterhouse, the birds are either pulled individually from
their crates, or the crates are lifted off the truck, often with a crane or
forklift, and the birds are dumped onto a conveyor belt. As the birds are
unloaded, some miss the conveyor belt and fall onto the ground.
Slaughterhouse workers intent upon 'processing' thousands of birds every
hour have neither the time nor the inclination to pick up individuals who
fall through the cracks, and these birds suffer grim deaths. Some die after
being crushed by machinery or vehicles operating near the unloading area,
while others may die of starvation or exposure days, or even weeks, later.
Inside the slaughterhouse, turkey suffer an equally gruesome fate. Upon
entering the facility, fully conscious birds are hung by their feet from
metal shackles on a moving rail. Although poultry are specifically excluded
from the federal Humane Slaughter Act (which requires that animals be
stunned before they are slaughtered), many slaughterplants first stun the
birds in an electrified water bath in order to immobilize them and expedite
assembly line killing.
However, stunning procedures are not monitored,
and they are often inadequate; the result is that while birds are
immobilized after stunning, they are still capable of feeling pain, and many
emerge from the stunning tank still conscious.