25 November 2003; immediate use
Campaigners Condemn NFU
Turkey CD Stunt
"Turkey farms are hell: musack won't change that."
Vegetarian campaign group Viva! has condemned as "sick,
cynical and beyond belief" the National Farmer's Union's
promotion of "relaxation CDs" for turkeys. The CD
is supposedly designed to be played to turkeys on farms to
have a "positive effect" on their welfare. Viva!
has investigated turkey farms many times and found profound
animal suffering on a massive scale - suffering that will
never be relieved by sound effects.
The NFU is sending the CD to all farmers who have signed
up for their "Turkey hotline" and it includes Gregorian
chant, wind chimes and whale sounds. The NFU claim it is an
experiment to see if the sounds can improve "turkey behaviour".
Viva! has exposed suffering in turkey farms - including Bernard
Matthews' - by filming them in secret. Our investigators have
filmed and photographed severe welfare problems such as birds
with swollen joints, broken and deformed legs, burnt breasts
from the excreta-covered floor and birds unable to walk who
dragged themselves along the floor using their wings. Feather
loss and wounds caused by cannibalism and feather-pecking
are common. Thousands of birds may be crammed into a single
windowless shed, the litter floor of which is never changed
during their lifetime. Tens of thousands of birds each year
starve to death in the sheds because they are too weak to
reach the food and water.
Viva! campaigner Alistair Currie says, "The idea that
sound effects and chill-out music might make the slightest
dent in the suffering of these poor birds is absurd. A turkey
that has to pull itself along on its wings because its crippled
legs won't carry it isn't going to be helped by the sound
of wind chimes. Turkey factory farms are hell: musack won't
change that. The NFU are promoting this sick stunt to hide
that reality. Turkeys don't want CDs for Christmas - they
want to live. Go veggie this Christmas."
Notes for Editors
Viva! has still and video images of turkey factory farms
available in all formats.
Viva!'s investigation of a Bernard Matthews' farm last year
was featured on GMTV and in the national press. The RSPCA
described the scenes we filmed as "appalling".
In association with actress Jenny Seagrove, Viva!' has produced
a "Celebration Feast" leaflet which contains recipes
for an alternative, entirely vegetarian Christmas dinner.
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