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Whales and Turkeys a Personal Observation

A thought-provoking article on animal cruelty and consumer choices.

TAGS: WHERNTO: righton 

image of Whales and Turkeys a Personal Observation

I was encouraged by a recent editorial denouncing whaling as cruel. I have also read that 70% of Canadians agree, including such local public figures as Reform MP, Gary Lunn. I wondered, though, if there is an inconsistency with the fact that most of us eat animals regularly. My first thought was that whales are killed in a cruel way, but that animals are raised for food in a humane manner.

So I asked myself if I would prefer life as a whale or a domestic turkey. In order to answer, I did a little digging. I found an article explaining that turkeys get stunned, have their throats slit and then are boiled. This sounds relatively humane, but only 30% remain unconscious for the throat-slitting and boiling. Furthermore, in nature turkeys live for 15 years and need to run. For consumption, they are meat machines, pumped with hormones to be slaughtered after only a few months of life. A life of packed, confined, dung littered quarters with more than half dying from disease, stress, and transportation.

Many agree whaling is cruel, but the fact is that raising and killing turkeys on the massive scale we do is worse. I would certainly rather live free as a whale and die a cruel death than suffer as a domestic turkey. I suspect other meat industries are no more humane in their treatment of animals than the turkey industry. A well-researched series of articles on the conditions of animals in the meat industry would be an excellent addition to any newspaper's columns.

Most of us can do little about whaling. But, we can make a difference to animal cruelty by reducing or cutting out meat and dairy. If we use our purchasing power this way, perhaps conditions for food animals will improve in the same way consumers favouring cosmetics "not tested on animals" has reduced animal cruelty in that industry.