News roundup: Factory farm turkey face terrible, short lives

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and that means people will be eating a lot of turkey. The last thing on their mind during family discussions, gridiron football and the circus known as the Trump presidency will be how the turkey went from an egg to being on their plate.

Like many other animals raised in factory farm environments, turkeys raised for human consumption are crowded into poorly ventilated industrial production facilities, sometimes with as many as 10,000 birds packed into a single factory building.

They also face a range of inborn physical problems. The commercially-raised turkeys have difficulty flying or running and they cannot reproduce naturally. The industry is focused on increasing productivity and profit, factory-farmed turkeys are the result of intensive breeding selection and now grow more than twice as fast and twice as large as their wild ancestors.

The gain weight at  an unnatural speed, which is coupled with their abnormally configured anatomy that puts tremendous pressure on the skeletal systems and vital organs of commercially raised turkeys. They often suffer from painful leg and joint disorders, lameness, heart problems and weakened immune systems.

But often, this is all hidden from sight and the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” holds very true.

Now, an animal welfare group has given us a look inside a factory turkey farm and that’s where we begin today’s news roundup.

  1. An insider view: A group called Direct Action Everywhere has released images of Turkey barns in Utah. The birds in the barns lived in conditions of intensive confinement and many of them suffered injuries and diseases. Those diseases included hepatitis and animals with tumors and cysts on their heads
  2. Dedicated face risks: In South Africa, two animal welfare inspectors had their vehicle hijacked, with one of them being shot. This is just the most recent in many incidents There have been incidents of vehicles being stoned, mobile clinics being robbed, smash-and-grabs taking place and workers held at knife and gunpoint. Much of this violence stems from workers doing jobs in gang-infested areas.
  3. A step backward: A majority of British MPs have voted that “animals cannot feel pain or emotions” into the Brexit bill. Animal sentience was incorporated into EU law in 2009 via the Lisbon Treaty, following years of campaigning by animal rights activists.
  4. But May says otherwise: In response to the outcry of the vote by the MPs, Theresa May has promised to “maintain and improve” animal welfare standards in the UK after Brexit. She highlighted government proposals to introduce mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses, ban micro beads and tackling the ivory trade.
  5. Elephant hunters whine: For once, Trump did the right thing and changed his position on lifting a ban on ivory gained by hunting in Zimbabwe. Now, hunting groups, composed mostly of rich white guys, are whining about how victimized they are.

So, my fellow Americans, enjoy your Thanksgiving, but keep in mind where your meal comes from. Everyone else in the world, have a great Thursday!

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