by Bill Maher
New Rule: The president can't pardon just one or two turkeys this
Thanksgiving. He's got to let them all go.
It's probably too much to expect from the man who wanted "no child
left behind," then vetoed health care for kids. But think of the
upside. Freeing the turkeys might help the president's credibility
when he says things like, "We don't torture."
Take a look at this video, shot just last month at a typical
American turkey slaughterhouse, and this one, shot undercover last
year at a Butterball slaughterhouse by investigators from PETA, and
you'll see that my use of the word is no exaggeration. Butterball
employees, taking a page out of the Abu Ghraib handbook, laughed
while they kicked, punched, stomped, and even sexually assaulted
These people should be arrested. They would be if the turkeys were
dogs or cats. Too bad our animal protection laws make about as much
sense as fighting a war against a country that doesn't have an army.
Even though 98 percent of the land animals Americans eat are turkeys
and chickens, the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
specifically excludes birds from protection. I'm not kidding.
The Butterball plant in the video slaughters about 50,000 turkeys
every day. Fifty million turkey corpses will go into American ovens
this Thanksgiving. More than 9 billion turkeys and chickens are
killed in the U.S. each year. But not one of them is guaranteed a
painless death, as documented in this video that was narrated by my
fellow animal-lover and HuffPo Blogger, Alec Baldwin. The Senate can
find time to vote to condemn an advertisement, but not to add birds
to humane slaughter laws.
So in the face of this surreal situation, in which, once again we
can't put our faith in the president, I ask you to do what I'm going
to do and pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving. It's not hard. Just eat
something else (ideas here and here). Not someone else, because it
doesn't seem fair to spare a turkey and roast a hunk of pig or cow
instead. If we can bow our heads in gratitude for our families, our
friends and our big screen TVs, and then carve into a creature who
lived a miserable life and died a horrible death, then our ethics
are about as sensible as Britney's parenting skills.
Former Vice President Al Gore should be the first to take the meat-
free Thanksgiving pledge. Since raising animals for food generates
more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world
combined, is it too much ask Mr. Gore to stop gazing at his Oscar
and his Nobel Prize long enough to read the United Nations report
that calls the meat industry "one of the top two or three most
significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems,
at every scale from local to global"?
For those of you who believe that the war is just and that global
warming is a figment of the elite liberal media's imagination,
here's the straight poop:
. Turkeys and other animals raised for food produce 130 times as
much excrement as the entire U.S. human population-all without the
benefit of waste treatment systems. Sewage spills, waste-filled
waterways and underground aquifer contaminated with e coli are the
meat industry's gift to Americans this holiday season.
. Turkey meat has just as much cholesterol as the pieces of cow and
pig called "red meat." Eating meat is linked to heart disease, high
blood pressure, obesity, some cancers, and diabetes.
So do the right thing. Instead of stuffing a turkey this year, stuff
the tradition of turkey for Thanksgiving right where it belongs-in
history's trash can.
Email sent by The Massachusetts Animal Rights Coalition, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit