By Jim Scanlon
There’s a beer commercial shown during football games with a man about to swing his ax to kill a turkey. The turkey screeches “gobble, gobble” which always frightens me. The next scene shows the man and his family having pizza for Thanksgiving with the turkey saying “gobble” in relief.
I never thought how hard it must be to kill the hundreds of thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys until I read an article about recent patents for killing and raising turkeys in the Business Section of the New York Times.
One new idea is to pass the turkeys through a chamber of carbon dioxide and argon so that they suffocate in, say 2 minutes. Presently the big birds have their feet tied and are hung upside down so that their heads are immersed in water and an electrical current zaps them.
The birds will still have to be picked up and hung so their throats can be slit and the blood drained-but, it’s a lot easier to pick up a dead bird than a live flapping one fighting futility for its life.
Can you imaging coming home from a hard day’s work hanging live turkeys upside down with all that “gobbling” and struggling and flapping, and your kid mouths off to you? What, you can’t?
I’m all for the CO2 method.
And then there is a new biological product to solve the “Post-Ovum Depression Syndrome” in turkeys. When a hen lays her eggs, the farmer takes them away for more efficient mechanical brooding. But the hens get upset, “brood," stop laying eggs and even attack the farmers.
It looks like agricultural science has come to the rescue with an antigen to block those brooding hormones. The FDA has granted approval to test a new drug on hens. How long will it be before mankind gets the benefit from this potential wonder drug?
Of course we all know about the “pecking order." Well, that’s a problem with turkeys. Perhaps because they react to the stress of crowding, they peck each other, sometimes to death. Farmers cut off the tips of the beaks, but this causes “pain and shock” to the birds.
Now, Nova-Tech has been granted patent #5,651,731 on a device that uses “high frequency radiation” (probably x-rays) on the birds upper beak which causes it to fall off. So much for the pecking order.
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