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Back to Factory farming
The human spirit is not dead.  It lives on in secret.... It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind. 

Albert Schweitzer, Novel Peace Prize address, "The Problem of Peace in the World Today"

Poultry

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently applies the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act only to mammals (yet even excludes some of them, such as rabbits), and refuses to extend these basic federal protections to the nearly ten billion turkeys, chickens, and other poultry raised for food each year."

The humane Society of the United States

I have included information concerning the horrendous treatment of poultry in factory farming here on one page. Poultry have many things in common concerning their inhumane treatment, however I have considered it more helpful to discuss each species separately. You may simply scroll down the page in the usual way to accesses information about chickens, ducks turkeys and geese or you may select specific species by clicking the appropriate links below .

Most people are vaguely aware of battery hens and their plight however there is much more cruelty to which they and other poultry are subjected and which you may find even more shocking, if it was not shocking enough to confine sentient creatures in tiny cages. For instance force feeding for geese and ducks

I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens. 

Isaac Bashevis Singer

Consider:

The natural life span of a chicken is six or seven years.

The original ancestors of chickens  produced as few as twelve to twenty eggs each year .

Domesticated chickens originated from red jungle fowl, forest dwelling birds of south east Asia. Modern chickens despite selective breeding  retain many of the natural behaviours of their wild ancestors.

Chickens contrary to popular belief are intelligent, more so than your cat or dog, and are inquisitive creatures. Researchers have discovered that they are good at solving problems. Chickens it seems are more clever in some respects than small children when it comes to understanding that recently moved objects still exist, a concept that small children do not understand. In their natural environment chickens recognise one another, they form friendships and develop social hierarchies. Chickens enjoy dust baths, more about this later, and roost in trees. They love and care for their young. In the wild they make nests to tend their offspring. The maternal instinct is strong in the hen, she bonds with her chicks before they are born by turning her eggs five times each hour while clucking to the baby chicks inside, who reciprocate by chirping in return both to their mother and each other. 

According to Dr. Chris Evans, Professor of Psychology at Macquarie University, Australia.

“Chickens exist in stable social groups. They can recognize each other by their facial features. They have 24 distinct cries that communicate a wealth of information to one other, including separate alarm calls depending on whether a predator is travelling by land or sea. They are good at solving problems. As a trick at conferences I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys.”

Dr. Joy Mench, Professor of Animal Science at University of California at Davis says this about Chickens:

"Chickens show sophisticated social behavior….That’s what a pecking order is all about. They can recognize more than a hundred other chickens and remember them. They have more than thirty types of vocalizations."

Factory farming denies these intelligent social creatures a full and natural life, the natural behaviours discussed above are not possible in factory farms as you will see by reading the information below. 

Most certainly of course a premature death awaits a factory farmed chicken in the abattoir, or indeed in any farming situation including free range, which of course most certainly denies them the basic right to live, a powerful instinct present in all creatures. All Creatures wish to live, the life of a chicken is as precious to him or her as your life is to you.

Chickens called broilers are factory farmed for meat, and hens, referred to as battery hens, for eggs. In the UK over 600 million chickens called broilers are raised and slaughtered every year for meat,  9 billion in the United States and approximately world wide 43 billion. In the UK there are 33 million chickens farmed for eggs, 75 percent are factory farmed hens, of these each year 3 million die of disease, that leaves five percent barn hens and thirty percent free range,  but free range is not as cruelty free as many believe. More about this later.

Factory farmed Chickens, are raised for meat in hot ammonia filled windowless sheds in huge flocks numbering as many as 100,000 birds. The terms broilers and battery hens are used to describe poultry which is raised in this type of industrial high intensity farming

Although not kept in cages broilers have living space that is less than the size of an A 4 sheet of paper, on floors covered with a layer of litter that remains unchanged during the entire life of the bird, this means that they stand in their own excreta with the result of painful ulcerated feet and rock burns, these are black marks which are caused as a consequence of ammonia, the ammonia is of course caused by the litter which is not changed until the birds are slaughtered.

Their food contains growth hormones and antibiotics. This results in a rapid and unnatural growth rate and soon conditions become even more cramped. In addition the bird's misery is compounded as her skeleton is unable to support her unnatural weight. As many as 80 percent suffer with broken bones, consequently some become so disabled as a result that they are are unable to reach food or water and eventaully die of starvation, a long protracted and miserable death. The increase in the rate of growth puts enormous stress on both the lungs and heart. In addition disease spreads rapidly due to the close confinement of these overcrowded unhygienic sheds.  Approximately 6 percent of birds die in sheds due to starvation and disease, salmonella being the most prevalent.

In natural circumstances chickens reach full adult size in about one year. Twenty years ago it would take about fourteen weeks, nowadays due to the above methods it takes half that time; within seven weeks at the most the bird reaches maturity and is than slaughtered. Unwanted male chicks approximately 40 million who are only one day old, who of course cannot lay eggs, are gassed shortly after birth and this applies also to male chicks produced in the free range process which many believe is humane. Although chickens when finally slaughtered  are supposed to be unconscious before slaughter, the stunning is often inadequate and birds may be conscious when they are scolded in defeathering tanks or skinned or while their throats are cut.  Even more horrifying, often baby chicks are minced alive and their remains used as fertiliser

Living conditions are even worse for battery hens who are kept in cages, again little more than the size of a sheet of A4 paper. As a consequence of such confinement chickens cannot carry out their natural behaviours such as dust bathing and scratching. Dust bathing is a way in which chickens clean their feathers. This natural behaviour which is so intrinsic to their nature is often attempted while so confined in cages even though of course there is no dust for them to carry out this essential and indeed pleasurable behaviour. This behaviour is called dust bathing because the chicken appears to immerse herself into a small indentation in the soil as though taking a bath. In factory farmed chickens dust bathing is impossible. As you can see from the photographs below, so tightly confined are these poor creatures that even moving is impossible. These crates are stacked so high and in such great numbers that dead birds are not removed and are left to decompose amongst the living. It is hell unimaginable.

Battery hens live their short miserable lives confined in tiny cages.

The battery cage system is an arrangement of bare wire cages, which are stacked on top of each other in rows. Each cage houses several hens and each row may contain hundreds of cages stacked at different levels. A nightmare of misery and suffering.

The photograph above shows hens crammed into tiny cages which are stacked in endless rows right to the ceiling, here they languish in filth and their own excrement.

Often hens escape from their battery cages, but instead of freedom they fall into the vast manure pits which lies beneath their cages, where without food or water they will slowly die.

Photographs courtesy of Farm Animal sanctuary.
 Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY 2

License under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

More of  farm sanctuary's photostream on flickr :
egg_DSCN0018 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

In such cramped condition chickens become aggressive, pecking at one another and also self injure. To prevent this a painful and distressing procedure called debeaking is carried out, often without anaesthetics, during which their sensitive beaks are seared off with a hot blade.  Laying hens and breeding flocks are debeaked sometimes twice: during the first week of life and sometimes again between 12 and 20 weeks of age. After this mutilation the the poor bird than suffers chronic pain.

In 1990 research, carried led by Michael Gentle at the Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research Edinburgh, Scotland, showed that experimentally debeaked chickens demonstrated chronic pain and much suffering following the operation.

 "The avian beak is a complex sensory organ which not only serves to grasp and manipulate food particles prior to ingestion, but is also used to manipulate non-food articles in nesting behavior and exploration, drinking, preening, and as a weapon in defensive and aggressive encounters. To enable the animal to perform this wide range of activities, the beak of the chicken has an extensive nerve supply with numerous mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, and nociceptors [ nerve endings sensitive to mechanical pressures, heat and pain]....Beak amputation results in extensive neuromas [tumors] being formed in the healed stump of the beak which give rise to abnormal spontaneous neural activity in the trigeminal [threefold] nerve. The nociceptors present in the beak of the chicken have similar properties to those found in mammalian skin and the neural activity arising from the trigeminal neuromas is similar to that reported in the rat, mouse, cat and the baboon. Therefore, in terms of the peripheral neural activity, partial beak amputation is likely to be a painful procedure leading not only to phantom and stump pain, but also to other characteristics of the hyperpathic syndrome, such as allodynia and hyperalgesia [the stress resulting from, and extreme sensitiveness to, painful stimuli]."

Published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, Vol. 27,

Quoted in United Poultry Concerns, Inc.information sheet, debeaking
UPC Factsheet - Debeaking

In other words the beaks of poultry have an extensive nerve supply in order to equip them for the functions their beaks evolved to carry out, which makes this area highly sensitive to heat and pain. Furthermore the amputation of the beak results in extensive tumours being formed, this has an effect similar to that experienced in human amputees who suffer what is referred to as phantom pain perceived as coming from the limb which has been amputated. Debeaking also results in referred and increased extreme sensitivity to pain in general, which has both a physical and an emotional effect, such as stress and depression. 

Battery hens are kept in constant artificial light to encourage egg laying, they never of course see daylight. Their claws grow too long and become caught up in the floor of the cage preventing them from obtaining food or water. As a result of the lack of exercise the bones of battery hens become brittle and often break. No one checks on their welfare of course, no one cares, these hapless creatures often in pain and distress are merely left to produce eggs as a machine produces plastic cups for instance. The mortality rate is high amongst caged battery hens, as much 6 percent.

Selectively breed battery hens produce over 300 unnaturally large eggs per year.  Their original ancestors in their natural circumstances produced as few as twelve to twenty at the most! Imagine how exhausting this must be for these unfortunate creatures.

The enormous majority of chickens world wide are raised in factory farms.  This is because to do so is more cost effective. More meat and eggs are produced at a lower cost and consequently a bigger profit. But with little regard of the cost to the unfortunate animals in terms of suffering.

Concerning free range

It may appear to many that the lot of a free range bird is more natural, that it is cruelty free, that a hen lays her eggs in a natural manner until she dies of old age.

Nothing could be further from the truth however.

According to EU regulations free range hens are required to have continuous access to the outside during the daytime. The outside area is required to be covered with vegetation with 1000 hens to an hectare of outdoor space. But the reality is that they are usually kept in deep litter or barns. You may see some eggs labelled as being produced by woodland birds, these are birds kept in smaller numbers in mobile sheds in natural landscapes such as woodland.

In some ways of course the circumstances above are better than those for the battery hen, but do not be mistaken to think that these conditions are cruelty free! In both of these environments there are negatives which make free range not as natural and as cruelty free as many imagine. This includes myself until recently, that is until I understood the reality, after which after 16 years of being a vegetarian finally I became vegan.

The truth of the matter is that many birds never or rarely go outside as the flocks are too large, often as large as 16000 (confined in spaces of 12 hens per square metre), for them to do so; as many as 50 per cent do not have regular access to the outside. Some barns have only access to one side and with limited space, the requirement for the total opening between the barn and the outside must not be less than 2m per 1000 hens. It is quite easy to assume that many hens may never be able to push their way to the front, doing so may well result in aggression and subsequent injury, certainly only the fittest gain access. So their lives are not as natural as we may suppose.

Moreover the females do not live out their lives to old age, laying eggs naturally, scratching, pecking at the ground, having dust baths, nest-building and perching, and generally behaving as a chicken would do in the wild as many people believe. This is a misconception which the farming industry are only too happy for you to carry on believing, content for you to spend more money thinking that by doing so you are a cruelty free consumer.

Here is even more of the sad reality.

Free range chickens still lay nearly as many eggs as battery hens which amounts to about 300 eggs per annum, that's ten times more than is normal! And remember as already mentioned, in natural circumstances hens lay up to only 20 eggs each year. At the end of their egg laying lives the hens are killed at about one year of age, a chicken's natural life span is about six or seven years, for low grade meat, and the male chicks as already mentioned are killed at only one day old. Nothing natural or cruelty free about that is there! One of the most natural instincts of virtually all creatures, maternal instinct, a mothers instinct to care for her young, is denied the mother who never sees any of the chicks she gives birth too. 

Like their factory farmed counterparts free range chickens are in some cases debeaked. As already described, debeaking is a very painful procedure; no painkillers are administered when the ends of their beaks are cut off with a hot blade

Another category of eggs we now see on the supermarket shelves are barn eggs.  Although a little cheaper than free range many people again buy them with the assumption that they are cruelty free. The name 'barn is a term which is deliberately misleading the public into thinking the hens are kept in clean bright, airy conditions with fresh straw on the floor and plenty of room to spread their wings.

The designation "Barn eggs" simply means that the hens are housed in huge, often filthy windowless sheds, although not caged thousands of birds are packed into very cramped spaces, 25 hens per square metre, they have no access to the outside. Some have access to perches or raised platforms and the floor is at least partly covered with litter.   Nesting boxes are provided but many birds are not able to lay their eggs in nesting boxes and instead lay them on the floor where other birds eat them and where they become contaminated by other birds faeces. For more shocking information concerning the treatment of Chickens refer to:
https://www.vegsoc.org/layinghens

If people knew how KFC treats its chickens, they'd never eat another drumstick.
Pamela Anderson

Chickens are of course not the only bird to suffer dreadful cruelty,  the plight of ducks may in some cases be even worse.

Some of the above information for this webpage was gleaned from the websites below where you will find more comprehensive information, fact sheets and campaigns and actions you can take. The simplest of which and an action you can take immediately is to: stop eating meat, egges and other animal products. Advice about how to become vegetarian or vegan may be found here on this website:
So you want to become veggie /vegan? 

Other related links on this website; Sentient Chickens

Also the websites below provide information and recipes.

References and Links :

United Poultry Concerns [UPC] - www.upc-online.org

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals Chickens

Factory Farming | Farm Sanctuary hens

 

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Ducks

Only fools think our attitude to our fellow men is a thing distinct from our attitude to 'lesser' life on this planet.
John Fowles
 

In the wild ducks live for about fifteen years.

Ducts are aquatic animals they spend 80 percent of their time in water.

To stay healthy ducks need access to water in ponds lakes and rivers and space to roam freely.

Ducks also want to live, and have young as do you and I. These are two basic instincts common to all creatures. Furthermore all creatures experience and wish to avoid pain.

The conditions of factory farming mentioned below takes place in the UK and the USA however similar exists in most countries throughout the world. And in addition the production of foi gras in France which is banned here in the UK

You may not be aware of this but almost all duck meat you see in your supermarket or eat in a restaurant comes from factory farms. Most ducks however is bred for restaurants; often part of the menu in Chinese restaurants duck is seen as a special treat. However a treat for you is a nightmare for the ducks; as your indulgence involves immense cruelty. I like to think that if the facts where known few people would eat duck.

In the UK The Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs Defra recommends that ducks be kept in conditions which permit them to live as naturally as possible to allow "the fulfilment of essential biological requirements of ducks, in particular respect of water, and the maintenance of good health". However in reality this recommendation comes no where near to being carried out. One recommendation is that ducks have enough water to immerse themselves and splash their backs, but this rarely happens as such recommendations cannot it seems be enforced. 

I had not thought of ducks as being subjected to factory farming as they are far less popular than chickens or even turkeys, but sadly it seems that few creatures escape this particular insidious and cruel method of farming. Throughout the entire world ducks are being deprived of their natural habitat in ponds, lakes and rivers and reared for meat and eggs in factory farms.

And make no mistake the factory farming of ducks is as horrifyingly inhumane as it is for other poultry. There is no outdoor access ever, these poor creatures never in their short abused lives see natural light.

Ducks like chickens and turkeys are crammed into sheds with as many as 10,000 ducks, about 8 per square metre in each shed in close confinement on concrete or wire floors, existing in litter soaked in faces which like chickens and turkeys results in painful ammonia burns. They are given dry pelleted food, ducks naturally eat water plankton, seeds, plants, insects and worms. Those kept on wire floors suffer tears and abrasions to their feet.  Kept in constant artificial light they never see the natural light of day, feel the warmth of the sun or the wind on their backs let alone swim in a pond or fly. In their natural environment ducks like to splash water over their bodies and to immerse themselves; in factory farms other than their drinkers there is no water, in some factory farms there are not even troughs in which the ducks may immerse their heads, there is in short no water for ducks to behave as ducks instinctively do. In addition to being a health benefit, more about this later, ducks simply enjoy water as anyone knows who feeds ducks at their local village or park pond or river .

"The favourite time of the week for our ducks is Saturday morning, when we clean out their pool. They quack maniacally, then jump into the clean water, preening and dipping under.

Jem and Cherry are working birds - they're supposed to eat slugs in the vegetable garden but, unlike chickens, leave the veg alone. But even when allegedly working, they will sit on water for hours - even in a washing-up bowl on the lawn. Their enjoyment of water, and the fact that ducks are aquatic, makes it all the more surprising that most of the 18 million ducks reared for meat in this country have no access to water for bathing."
Read the complete article:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/why-farmed-ducks-endure-worse-conditions-than-battery-hens-8595956.html

In the wild ducks can fly at speeds of 50 miles an hour, confined in sheds they hardly have room to walk let alone fly. They become subject to disease as they are unable to preen and clean themselves, the consequence is dirty poor feather condition resulting in an inability to keep warm. Many suffer as a result of eye disease, ducks need water to rinse their eyes; with out water to do this they go  blind. Other disabilities arise also from an inability to cleanse themselves. Many fall onto their backs and are not able to right themselves, their is no one to right them, no one cares,  there is virtually no one to care: in one UK based company, the most intensive enterprise of its kind there are as many as 85,000 birds tended by only one person. Consequently these poor creatures die a frightening and protracted death as they struggle in vain to right themselves. Read the extract below from a resent Viva campaign, the shocking facts should brings tears to any sensitive person's eyes. Yet these atrocities and worse continue often undetected and condoned throughout the whole practice of factory farming

"Modern farming techniques have turned the fluffy Easter duckling image into a sick joke. 19 million ducks were slaughtered in the UK in 2005 (in the mid 1970’s the UK duck population was barely a million). We know what these birds lives are really like because we have investigated several duck units. Twice we visited Manor Farm Ducklings, who then supplied Marks & Spencer. On our first visit, we saw thousands of fluffy, yellow ducklings in stinking, windowless sheds. Some could barely walk and dragged themselves across on their wings. Others had fallen on their backs and were unable to right themselves and this is how they would die - a horrible, stressful death. Many had already lost the battle to live and their little corpses were scattered amongst the straw. One duckling had fallen behind machinery and was hopelessly trapped - calling desperately for a mother who would never come."

http://www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/ducks/ms.html

Why are not ducks given the water they need? Well as usual its all to do with profit.  In such confined conditions as factory farms water spreads disease when ducks take in water into thier systems, which is than evacuated into the water which other ducks drink with the result of the spread of disease, which may result in serious health problems including avian flu.   Ducks are derived of water should the water spread disease.  Another reason for the severe restriction of water is because ducks naturally like to splash water over their bodies and in nature this is no problem of course, however in the unnatural environment of factory farms such behaviours causes choking ammonia to be released from the faeces-covered floor.

The answer of course to the spread of disease in water is simply not to factory farm ducks or indeed any other animal.

Did you know that a duck's beak is as sensitive as your finger tips? Yet like their chicken and turkey counterparts many suffer the painful process of debeaking with out anaesthetics or pain killers. Ducks have highly sensitive beaks due to an intensive cluster of nerves in this area, therefore this procedure is extremely painful and results thereafter in chronic pain and difficulty in eating

Farm ducks retain their wild habits, in the wild ducks choose a mate and live for ten to fifteen years. However in the factory farms they are not allowed to mate in the natural way. In their natural environment ducks care for their young and are fiercely protective, the mother teaches them how to fly and swim, clean their feathers ,eat and behave how ducks evolved to behave. In factory farms none of the ducklings ever see their mother. Female ducks have been selectively breed to produce 100 percent more ducklings than they did five years ago. A duck has  been produced to lay as many as 275 eggs each year, ten times in access of ducks in the wild evolved to lay.

Mother ducks have been bred to produce 100 per cent more ducklings than five years ago. Cherry Valley say that they have produced a ‘superduck’ which lays up to 275 eggs a year – ten times what she has evolved to lay. This unnaturally high output of eggs causes a disease – egg peritonitis – that is the main cause of death in laying ducks. The duck’s ovaries become inflamed and the reproductive tracts rupture causing agony.

Wild birds fly, swim, dive and walk – however, the farmed birds are bred to be heavy. They may be unable to fly, have difficulty in walking and are prone to leg disorders. All this in a seven week life. The natural life-span of a duck is 15 years. And what of their death? They are usually hung upside down on a conveyor system, causing great pain to birds which may already have broken legs or injuries. Their heads are then supposed to be dipped into an electrical waterbath. However, both the Council of Europe and Bristol University have shown that the majority of ducks are not stunned properly – and are knifed fully conscious.

Extract from Ducks Out of Water.
Read the complete article
Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals
 

Farmed ducks have been bred from wild Mallard ducks and retain much of thier wild instincts and behaviours. It is a fact that the Council of Europe has ruled that farmed birds are essentially still wild and retain their biological behaviours which they have evolved. In their natural habitats mallards are aquatic, social creatures living in large flocks in autumn and winter and in spring and summer living in pairs. The female producing about eights eggs, two or three times each year. Ducks will forage on land but obtain their food mainly from water, straining out plankton and other food through their beaks.

In the factory farm system, the ducks who lay the eggs for hatching are made to moult, this is done by starving them; all food is denied them until they have lost a third of their body weight. Some times even water is removed for twenty four hours at a time.  This is a method which brings about an extra egg laying cycle but which results in about half of the birds loosing their primary feathers and many dying, also of significance of course is the stress, fear and misery which results from the effects of starvation on any animal.

A particularly horrifying factory farming abuse is the production of Foie gras.

Millions of ducks are selected for the production of Foie gras, mostly in France but also elsewhere such as the USA and hungry. Foie gras is a French term which means fatty liver. This is produced by force feeding both ducks and geese large amounts of meal which enlarges thei liver to ten times its normal size. This dreadful abuse results in much suffering . Ducks raised for Foie gras, suffer from hepatic lipidosis, a pathologically enlarged, physiologically impaired liver.

"During the force-feeding process, the duck is grabbed by the neck and a metal tube 8 feet long is forced down her esophagus. The desired amount of high fat, high carbohydrate corm mush is pushed through the tube into the duck's esophagus by either a manual or pneumatic plump. The amount of food the birds are forced to ingest is far greater than they would eat voluntarily. In fact by the end of the force feeding period, each duck is forced to consume 400 to 500 grams per day, approximately one pound of corn and oil mixture ... This is the amount that, for a 175 pound person, would be equivalent to 44 pounds of pasta per day. The force-feeding process is repeated 2-3  times per day for up to one month. In order to facilitate the force feeding process for farm workers, the ducks are either confined in groups in small pens, or are restrained in individual cages so small the birds can't turn around or stretch thier wings."

Extract from Farm Sanctuary The Welfare of Ducks and Geese in Foie Gras Productions. nofoiegras.farmsanctuary.org/FGscience_report.html
Also see:
nofoiegras.farmsanctuary.org/science.html

Also you can see videos including force feeding, from GourmetCruelty.com: The Truth about Foie Gras  
Foie Gras Video Gallery - GourmetCruelty.com - Delicacy of Despair.

The home page from where you may read more about the production of foie gras.
The Truth about Foie Gras - GourmetCruelty.com - Delicacy of Despair

 

Ducks and geese are crammed into tiny cages there is no room to move let alone walk. Here they are forced fed as a metal tube is forcibly pushed down their throats, there is no escape, no respite, three times each day, day after day after day they are subjected to this horror.

Stacked closely together in dark windowless sheds these poor creatures await the most horrific of abuse imaginable as a steel tube is forced down thier throats three time each day to forcibly feed them, to enlarge their liver.

Dead ducks are left amongst the living in the production of foie gras

Photographs courtesy of Farm Animal sanctuary.
Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY 2

License under 
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

More of  farm sanctuary's photostream on flickr
Foie Gras Production 35 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Think if you eat foie gras you are eating diseased liver. That's right diseased liver! For more details see the section about Geese:
Animal rights Geese

Like chickens and turkeys the life of a duck in a factory farm is a far cry from that which nature intended, their lives bear no resemblance whatsoever to the ducks you feed on the village pond. 

In a factory farm there is nothing remotely natural about their existence and most defiantly nothing remotely humane. They like other unfortunate creatures are exploited, a means to an end treated as nothing more than egg and meat producing machines, not thinking feeling beings.

Their life span is drastically cut short, when at only seven weeks they are cruelly slaughtered, 20 million here alone in the UK each year. You cannot imagine can you those cute ducks we all like to feed at the local pond, fluffy yellow chicks a symbol of Easter and the arrival of spring, treated so cruelly; somehow people fail to make the connection as they sit down to Peking duck in the local Chinese restaurant or tuck into duck a l'orange  that these self same ducks are farmed in such shocking conditions.

The misery continues at the slaughter house where death is anything but humane, if the act of taking another creatures life can ever in any circumstances be humane. In the USA as many as 100 million birds are not stunned before their throats are cut.  Stunning is in any event enormously painful. Many may appear to be unconscious but are instead paralysed, but still of course aware of what is happening to them. Many are alive when they are immersed into the defeathering tank of scalding water.

In the UK of the 18 million ducks reared each year only 5 percent are free range. Again as with other poultry many consumers are conned into believing that free rang farm animals live in more humane and natural conditions, again nothing could be further from the truth.

Although somewhat better off their lives are by no means natural. Free range ducks are kept in flocks of between 4,500 to as many as 8,000 in out door paddocks, troughs are provided but still there is no where to swim. And at the end of the day they like, any other farmed animal face the ultimate cruelty as they are killed prematurely. 

Don't forget the down or feathers in your pillows, duck down in your pillows means that the duck has either been slaughtered or plucked alive. That's right plucked alive! You can't imagine it can you, neither could I until researching information for this website page. Duck down grows under the surface feathers of the bird, this provides insulation for the bird, either a duck or a geese, although as geese is down is better quality most down comes from geese. It is sought after as it makes for a comfortable pillow or as insulating for quilts, padded jackets, sleeping bags. For more information about the shocking, painful and highly traumatic practice of live plucking see the section on geese

Although eider ducks are protected species they do not escape unscathed. Each year farmers in Iceland gather more than 6,500 pounds of down feather, taken from the nests of eider ducks. The mother duck plucks these from her chest to line her nest in order to insulate her eggs from the cold, removing them causes the chicks to die. 

Now please do not allow yourself to be led into thinking that because female ducks pluck down from their breasts to line their nests that plucking is painless. The mother ducks only takes a few, they are not ripped from her forcibly, which happens when she is plucked. Another misconception which many people try to use to justify this abuse as being painless is that ducks and geese moult. Moulting is of course painless, feathers simply drop out much as you hair does from time to time without you even noticing it. Therefore such arguments  to justify this cruelty are invalid. Ducks and geese after such treatment take several days to recover from the shock. After being grabbed and having their feathers and or down torn from them they stagger about trembling and lean against supports or huddle together. It is extremely painful, rather like having all your hair pulled out. Ducks like us have a brain and nervous system and will of course feel pain.

There are now excellent alternatives and no one needs down or feathers, which are in any case not for our use, they evolved to keep ducks and other waterfowl warm.

Below are links to websites with more information concerning the exploitation and abusive methods of factory farming meted out to ducks.

The solution as always is to stop eating ducks or their eggs and avoid the purchase of products which use their feathers or down. There are other actions you may take by visiting the website below where you will also find advice about altering your diet to avoid meat or eggs.

Related links on this website:

Sentient Ducks

So you want to become veggie /vegan? 

References and Links :

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals Home

VIVAnd Factory Farming Ducks

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals cruelty at the Co-op

http://thehill.com/wppdf/FoiegrasWelfareEvidence.pdf

Viva! USA DUCKS

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Turkeys

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
Sutrakritanga (Jainism)

The nightmare before Christmas - at least for the turkeys

In the wild turkeys live for twelve years

"it is only when we get close to animals, and examine them with open minds that we are likely to glimpse the being within. Natural history writing is strewn with incidents which writers are moved to awe by the intelligence, sensitivity and awareness of animals they have lived with. When Joe Hutto, a turkey hunter, lived for a year among a flock of wild turkeys in Florida, he was moved to describe them as his superiors - more alert, sensitive and aware, and vastly more conscious than himself.  Hutto concluded that the birds are in love with being alive."

Jonathan Balcombe describing the experiences of Joe Hutto in his book Pleasurable Kingdom

Dear Lord, I've been asked, nay commanded, to thank Thee for the Christmas turkey before us... a turkey which was no doubt a lively, intelligent bird... a social being... capable of actual affection... nuzzling its young with almost human-like compassion.  Anyway, it's dead and we're gonna eat it.  Please give our respects to its family. 

Berke Breathed.

Turkeys are gentle creatures known for their resourcefulness and agility, Benjamin Franklin called the Turkey "a bird of courage" he thought the Turkey truly deserved to be the national bird of the USA instead of the Bald Engle. 

In a recent study here in the UK it was found that turkeys showed a preference for different kinds of music and sounds. It was also found that turkeys play with one another and when an apple was thrown into a group of turkeys they will play with it as a group .

“Very few animals go through the stresses of poults [baby turkeys] in their first three hours of life. They are squeezed for sexing, thrown down a slide onto a treadmill, someone picks them up and pulls the snood off their heads, clips three toes off each foot, debeaks them,  puts them on another conveyer belt that delivers them to another carousel where they get a power injection, usually of an antibiotic, that whacks them in the back of their necks. Essentially, they have been through major surgery. They have been traumatized. They don’t look very good. . . .”

Dr. William E. Donaldson, North Carolina State University

A very succinct and accurate description of the atrocities of factory farming as it relates to turkeys and all that takes place within the first three hours of their tormented lives!

Like chickens turkeys are bred to grow faster and bigger than would other wise be the case in the wild, genetic manipulation and antibiotics produces 35 pound birds within a few months. As a consequence many suffer from painful leg problems, their hearts and lungs cannot cope with the strain, the result is heart and lung collapse and crippling deformity and chronic pain. Twenty five per cent of turkeys are in chronic pain because of swollen joints, 70 per cent of big birds. Other breeding and genetic modifying techniques have been further implemented to produce anatomically disproportionate birds with large breasts, which is what the market wants and where the most money is made. There is little space remaining in their body cavity for other organs. Due to the extent of genetic interference turkeys are now so heavy that they can no longer reproduce naturally. Two or three times a week the males are in effect "milked" for their semen by workers who manipulate the males’ anal area until the phallus is erect and semen is ejected, helped along by the pressure on the lower abdomen. The semen is than introduced into the female's vagina by hypodermic syringe or the operator’s breath pressure, through a length of tubing while the bird is held upside down. The repeated use of this practice is stressful and if not performed correctly may lead to injury. In addition artificial insemination spreads fowl cholera, a major disease which results from the factory farming of turkeys.  Rather reminds one of plant propagation techniques in a green house rather than a procedure carried out on feeling sentient beings. The turkey you see in your supermarket only now exists because of artificial insemination.

A female turkey is little more than a meat or egg laying machine. Mother turkeys like their chicken counterparts never see their off spring. In their natural circumstances turkey mothers, like ducks, communicate with their chicks both while still in the egg and following their birth. In factory farms when eggs are laid, fertile eggs are immediately taken from the mother and sent to the hatchery. After twenty eight days in the hatchery the chicks are transferred to what are called growing sheds where the heat is kept at a high temperature and the lighting dim. Many chicks die of heart attacks and heat stroke, they suffer stress and aggression from their fellow equally traumatised chicks. Many die of thirst and starvation unable to locate water and feeding points.

Also like chickens turkeys are crammed together, as many as 25,000 in each dimly lit windowless shed. The lighting is dim to discourage aggression due to the stress and frustration of their dreadful and unnatural conditions, which results in fighting as birds attack each other's eyes and toes. Many peck at each other, pull out feathers and in some intensive factory farms cannibalism takes place. Low lighting causes reduced activity levels and results in abnormal growth. Turkeys are by nature gentle creatures, in the wild this kind of aggression does not take place.

Turkeys are crammed together in such close confinement that as they grow they run out of space and barely have room to move, they stand in their own excrement. The litter is not changed until these birds go to slaughter.

Photograph courtesy of Farm Animal sanctuary.
Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY 2

Licensed under 
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

More of  farm sanctuary's photo stream on flickr
poultry_bar_1 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! turkeys

Like broiler chickens turkeys are kept on a litter floor. However unlike chickens turkeys do not scratch round in the litter and as a consequence the litter deteriorates even more quickly than that of chickens. Make no mistake in thinking that these litter floors are cleaned out; like chicken sheds, turkey sheds are only cleaned out after the birds are taken to be slaughtered. After the duration of the growing period as much as 80 percent of this is faeces, the consequence of this increases their suffering as turkeys develop ulcerated feet and painful burns to their breasts and legs as a result of the build up of ammonia as turkeys spend their short lives standing on litter which becomes increasingly wet and dirty. The  maximum space for each bird is no more than  260cm2/kg, 3.5 square feet, this space becomes increasingly more tightly packed as the turkey grows rapidly. 

This joyless life filled with misery is a far cry from how turkeys live in their natural habitat. In the wild  turkeys can fly at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour and run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. In their natural habitat in their native land of America turkeys roost in trees, eating vegetation and insects, roaming through the woodland. Mothers are protective of their young living in harems.

Imagine the frustration, anxiety and depression which results from such confinement. To further add to this suffering many birds may be found with open wounds and sores, dead or dying, suffering disease and neglect. Their suffering is ignored, untreated, no one checks to see if any birds cannot reach food or water, no one tends their wounds they are merely a means to an end, and that end is not to put food on your table as cheaply as possible, food which you really do not need, but rather to provide a significant profit for the meat industry. 

When turkeys are but a few days old factory farm workers cut off portions of their upper beaks and toes with hot blades and also remove with an instrument, or simply pull off, the males flap of skin which runs from the beak to the chest, this procedure called desnooding is undertaken to minimalise cannibalism. All of these procedures/ mutilations are carried out without the use of  anaesthetics or pain killers. Furthermore debeaking my result in chronic pain. It is also done more than once. This cruel practice is meant to prevent birds from scratching and pecking each other to death, which as already mentioned it is a behaviour not seen in the wild; such abnormal behaviours occur no doubt as a result of the stress and misery of their painful lives.  Debeaking is of course not the solution, the  cessation of factory farming of course is the only remedy, indeed any kind of farming and the reintroduction of turkeys into the wild.

Make no mistake in thinking that turkeys and other poultry are not aware of their circumstances, see sentient animals, and as a consequence do not experience in addition to dreadful pain, stress, anxiety and fear.  This is one of the erroneous beliefs that the meat industry is quite happy to have you continue to believe. The reality is that indeed like humans turkeys and other poultry experience fear and stress.  Stress results in a condition called "starve-out" the name of the condition that causes young birds to stop eating. The cessation of eating and drinking is a sign of stress that manifests in all animals including man.  "Starve-out" may also occur as a consequence of many birds being unable to reach food and water supplies, not able to fight their way through the throng of stronger birds in the cramped conditions. Birds have also been observed to show not only signs of chronic pain after debeaking, but also depression.
 

In addition to the above if such cruelty was not bad enough turkeys may suffer deliberate abuse. Prosecution takes place in such cases but remember that this occurs only when the culprits are caught and that often only happens after an animal rights group has undertaken an investigation. Such as the abuse discovered by Hillside Animal Sanctuary when workers at Bernhard Matthews intensive factory farm where filmed using turkeys as footballs. There are no doubt many similar cases of abuse which never get reported. Such incidences occur the world over as in the case of appalling cruelty reported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), where turkeys where beaten, kicked and stomped to death.  Faeces and even broom handles pushed down their throats are amongst some of the horrendous abuses reported, which of course all takes place in the full view of other turkeys inducing unimaginable terror.

"A PETA investigation of Minnesota-based Crestview Farm revealed that the manager of the farm repeatedly used a metal pipe to bludgeon 12-week-old turkeys who were lame, injured, ill, or otherwise unsuitable for slaughter and consumption. The injured birds were thrown onto piles of other dead and dying birds then tossed into a wheelbarrow for disposal. Birds who were overlooked were kicked or beaten with pliers or had their necks wrung—all in full view of other terrified birds. When the Minnesota Turkey Growers came to the defense of the farmer, the local district attorney refused to prosecute."

Read more from PETA about the inhumane treatment of Turkeys:

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/turkeys-factory-farmed-torture-on-the-holiday-table.aspx

And when finally their short miserable lives are ended as they are sent to the abattoir (between three and six months old, hen turkeys are slaughtered between nine and 11 weeks of age), their suffering is far from over. In preparation for the abattoir turkeys sufferer much abuse and often workers who catch the birds for transportation handle them so violently that they routinely break their bones, and many suffer painful and distressful haemorrhaging before their arrival at the Slaughter house, after a horrifying journey sometimes of considerable distance crammed in lorries in conditions of severe stress in extremes of temperature, some suffocate or become injured before arriving at their destination .

Turkeys are crammed into crates, often taken considerable distance to the abattoir, exposed to all weathers. As many as 10,000 birds may be packed in the way you see above.

Photograph courtesy of Farm Animal sanctuary.
Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY 2

License under 
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

More of  farm sanctuary's photostream on flickr
poultry_bar_1 on Flickr - Photo Sharing! turkeys

If they have not already died of injury or shock from such treatment. More abuse awaits them at the abattoir

Legislation in the UK allows turkeys to be shackled by their legs for up to six minutes before they are killed, a procedure that results in obvious suffering. Turkeys and other poultry are rendered unconscious by having their heads immersed in an electrified water bath, a cruelty which in itself does not bear thinking about. Anyone who has had even the mildest of electric shocks will know only to well how painful contact with an electrical current can be. However to increase this horrendous suffering still further turkeys often suffer the additional trauma of pre stun electric shocks because their wings often make contact with the water before their heads. How can anyone consider this a humane way of rendering an animal unconscious.

However this system of stunning is not infallible, many remain conscious or regain consciousness. A back up system meant to decapitate any birds that are not stunned, another awful way to die of course, often misses some birds due to the large volume of birds each hour. These birds continue on to the neck cutter which severs one carotid artery, it takes about five minutes for the bird to loose brain responsiveness. As a consequence many birds enter the scolding tank,  a device for defeathering, fully conscious.   Million of birds will be conscious when they enter the scolding tank.

The Shocking facts is that in the USA 270 million turkeys are killed each year 72 million of whom are slaughtered at holiday times including Christmas. In the UK 15 million are slaughtered annually with 10 million at Christmas time. I have been unable to find out the number of birds killed annually world wide to provide you with your Christmas dinner, the figure must be unimaginably high.  What an incongruous and truly hideous way to celebrate the birth of religious figure whom any believe to be a man of peace.

If more people witnessed the cruelty of slaughter, we believe they would choose a compassionate alternative and celebrate a vegetarian Thanksgiving instead.

Quotation: Farm sanctuary

To see a photographic account of the atrocities committed towards turkeys visit the website below

The Turkey - All Creatures Animal Exploitation Photo Gallery: This All Creatures

As before the most effective way to stop this cruelty is to stop eating turkey. Yes indeed you can have a very festive Christmas without recourse to eating the flesh of this sensitive intelligent creature. Many of the websites linked blow will have information about alternative for Christmas and Thanksgiving. For ideas from this website So you want to become veggie /vegan?  Where you can also read what my family and I have to eat as an alternative to turkey or other meat at Christmas time.

There are some very tasty recipes on VIVA's website which you may use as an alternative to turkey for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Viva! Very Veggie Christmas

Related web pages on this website: Sentient Turkeys

References and links:

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals, turkeys.

Farm Sanctuary | Watkins Glen, NY..

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals.

United Poultry Concerns [UPC] - www.upc-online.org.

The secret life of turkeys - Go Vegan / Vegetarian - Campaigns - Animal Defend

Photo Credit: Turkey by flick user Hey Paul Turkeys on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Licence under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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Geese

Our treatment of animals will someday be considered barbarous. There cannot be perfect civilisation until man realises that the rights of every living creature are as sacred as his own.
Dr David Starr Jordan

In the wild geese have a life expectancy of about twenty five years.

Geese are social animals and have strong affections for others of their flock

Geese are monogamous and will remain with the same mate for life, only choosing another if their partner dies. Some geese after losing their partner may thereafter remain single.

Although Geese do not suffer the abuse of factory farming here in the UK in quite the way that other poultry do,  they are nonetheless not free from exploitation and abuse.

In addition to their meat geese are also exploited for Foie gras and for their feathers and down, which may be plucked from them whilst they are still alive!

Foie Gras coined Torture in a tin has already been mentioned in the section concerning ducks: Animal Rights:Ducks.
Torture in a tin is an apt phrase often used to symbolize the cruelty that goes into producing Foie gras. Whilst the production of Foie gras is more prevalent amongst ducks, geese are also subjected to this hideous abuse in significant numbers.

Consider that if you eat foie gras you are eating diseased liver. That's right diseased liver.

Although all meat is unnecessary for a healthy diet, in particular foie gras is not only unnecessary but an expensive luxury which comes at a high price not only for the over privileged humans who indulge in its consumption, but also for the poor unfortunate geese and ducks who are tortured with forced feeding three times each day for 17 days, after which time they are slaughtered at about three months of age. Their entire short lives are filled with nothing but suffering. Awaiting the tortuous process of forced feeding they are confined in tiny cages with no room to move, like so many components on a conveyor belt waiting for the next stage of processing they spend their lives anticipating the next horrific assault. Two to three times each day they face this painful and obviously distressing procedure, day in and day out for the duration of their prematurely shortened lives. In the name of fine dinning in many parts of the world geese and ducks are reared in their millions in intensive factory farms. In France 30 million ducks and 700,00 geese, are breed to produce foie Gras and to a lesser extent Hungary and other countries including Canada.

Foie gras is produced by the cruel practice of force feeding in order to increase both the size of the goose’s liver and its fat content. These abused creatures are fed corn boiled fat which produces huge amounts of fatty deposits on the liver, this causes a disease of the liver called hepatic steatosis.

The painfully diseased liver is now enlarged by this process as much as six to ten times its normal size. Eventually this disease would result in the animals death however before this happens the hapless birds are slaughtered in a none to humane method.

Sometimes the tormented bird’s organs rupture. Force feeding literally means what it says; food is forced, or rather pumped down the goose's throat as his mouth is held open while a metal pipe is forced down and vast amounts of food poured into his stomach. The equivalent of an 175 pound person eating 44 ponds of pasta per day, (see extract from a Farm Animal Sanctuary fact sheet In the section on ducks.) Sometimes the process is automatic by use of a pneumatic pump. Often the goose sustains a ruptured throat or oesophagus. In addition to impaired liver function and damage, the abdomen swells making it difficult to walk, even if the poor creature escapes having his oesophagus ruptured it is nonetheless painfully scarred.

Can you imagine the outcry if this was done to a cat or a dog! Yet in many parts of the world this kind of cruelty is legal and goes unchallenged. This is one of the most appalling kinds of animal cruelty you can imagine which has been banned in some parts of the world including the UK, Germany, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland and some states of the USA. Keep in mind though that here in the UK fair trade regulations allow the importation each year of tonnes of foie gras, an elegant name of French origin of course for a hideous and expensive delicacy, therefore the UK continues to play a huge role in the continuance of this cruelty.

I rather think if this process was more widely known more objection would be raised by the public in general, again its a matter of people not knowing how the food that they eat is produced. Only a very callous or self serving person interested in profit from an expensive commodity or the over privileged consumer concerned only in satisfying an apatite for a food that is considered a delicacy but which in reality is nothing more than diseased liver, would eat foie gras once its origin is known.

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/foie-gras.aspx

After a month of this hell the geese are slaughtered inhumanely by being hug upside down and their throats cut, often while blood drips on live birds below. Its is difficult to imagine that people who are in many ways just like you or I could be so callous to such horrendous suffering of these sentient creatures. Make no mistake these animals feel pain and are aware of what is happening to them.

It is only the male goose or duck who is subjected to this torture, tiny new born females are tossed alive into electric mincers as they are not able to put on the weight as quickly as thier brothers, in other words they are not as profitable. That is after all what it is all about of course, money; this is a meal for the over privileged, an expensive so called delicacy. 

Birds routinely regain consciousness before they lose brain responsiveness if they do not have a cardiac arrest when they are stunned.

For more detailed information and action you can take

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals foie gras introduction

Viva! - Vegetarians International Voice for Animals foire gras

Really how can any nation consider itself civilised while condoning such obvious abuse to any animal. I hope that in the future there will come a time when the way we treat farm animals will be looked on with utter revulsion and horror, much as we do the dreadfulness of past carnage that humans have committed against each other over many centuries, including atrocities of world war two. If such opinions prevail I would imagine that future generations will be particularly revolted by the horror of foie gras production.

In addition to the shocking treatment they endure to produce foie gras, both ducks and geese may well be subject to another hideously painful from of abuse:

Live feather and down plucking!

Although feathers are plucked from slaughtered birds it may surprise you to know that many birds have their feathers plucked, or more accurately ripped from them, whilst they are alive, and this happens three or more times each year!

This cruelty is meted out to millions of birds every year in China, which is the worlds largest producer of down and feathers, and several European counties, including Poland and Hungary. Down and feathers are exported throughout Europe to produce duvets, pillows and to provide an insulating layer in jackets. In Hungary 50 percent of all feathers come from live plucking in huge factory farms where as many as 20, 000 geese are confined crammed into small areas. These unfortunate creatures have thier feathers ripped from them at least two to three times each year, after which they may also be subjected to the horror of foie gras production before being finally slaughtered. Sometimes live birds are hung upside down by their feet whilst their feathers are plucked from them.

Collecting down also takes place in the same manner.

Live plucking of down

Although strictly speaking eiderdown comes from the eider duck, down from both geese and other breeds of duck is also used. Down consists of  the soft feathers which lie underneath the outer covering of water proof feathers, it is the down feathers that keep the bird warm even in cold water, providing insulation. It is highly sought after for its insulating properties  Birds are breed specially for this purpose and from the age of about 10 weeks until about fours years old, as with feathers, down is plucked three or four times each year from each bird. Now this hurts, it is extremely painful and obviously distressful, imagine having your hairs pulled out one by one. These birds have a brain and a nervous system, of course it is painful. It is known by both scientists and veterinarians that this is a cruel practice.

One misconception which may lead people to think that feather plucking is not painful arises from the fact that ducks and geese moult and that the female plucks feathers and down from her body to line her nest. However the mother duck in the process of doing so takes only a few feathers and down, she does not rip out all her feathers and her down as is the case when birds are forcefully plucked. Moulting of course is a painless and natural occurrence for many birds and mammals and feathers or down falling out in this way is not painful, not even noticed anymore than you notice when your hair falls out as it does from time to time.

Plucking geese causes them considerable pain and distress. One study of chickens’ heart rates and behaviors determined that “feather removal is likely to be painful to the bird(s),” and another study found that the blood glucose level of some geese nearly doubled (a symptom of severe stress) during plucking.

PETA Media Center > Factsheets > Down and Silk: Birds and Insects Exploited

I think for most sensible people such confirmation is not requried, its common sense, of course its painful. After such a trauma birds have been observed to be in agony, trembling shaking from pain and shock huddling together or leaning against a support, it takes them many days to recover.

Although eider ducks are protected species they do not escape unscathed. Each year farmers in Iceland gather more than 6,500 pounds of down feather, taken from the nests of eider ducks. The mother duck plucks these from her chest to line her nest in order to insulate her eggs from the cold, removing them causes the chicks to die. 

Duvets: a nightmare for geese Be sure to watch the linked film , although not in English the point is obvious

Although geese are not massed produced for their meat as are other poultry such as Chickens and to a lesser degree turkeys, geese are nonetheless eaten by many, usually those who are more affluent. Goose is often cooked mostly at Christmas as a change from turkey. Like other birds bred for slaughter their end is often anything but the humane sanitised painless process that many people imagine, not that there is of course anything humane about ending the life of a sentient being merely to satisfy a certain culinary preference; there is nothing humane about death, there never was and never will be no matter how a creature's death is brought about. All animals wish to live.

Often they not only suffer from the loss of their existence but may sufferer terribly in the process. According to VIVA a staggering 62 million birds each year regain consciousness before they slowly die from loss of blood. Even more shocking 8.2 million are still alive when they arrive at the scolding tank where they are immersed in scolding water to make for an easy removal of their feathers.

Consider

Both ducks and geese who are kept to produce foie gras or for live feather and down plucking, in addition suffer the same abuse and neglect suffered by all farm animals, kept in cages with no room to move. In dark windowless sheds they are unable to feel the warmth or light of the of the sun or the cool of the breeze or even the cold of a frozen lake from which the down that we steel was meant to insulate them. Nor can they swim in a pond or river or fly, they can't even stretch their wings let alone fly!  They are unable to  do anything that geese or ducks do in the wild. They cannot socially interact, keep themselves clean or care for  their young. In short life is denied them whist they like all farm animals are subjected to mutilations such as having their beaks cut off.

There are many actions you can take to stop the abuse of these animals, the most obvious of which is to not eat foie gras. And please do not make the mistake of thinking an item ladled duck's livers on a menu is the same as pigs or sheep's liver, not that of course it is any more humane to eat any type of liver or anything else from another animal. To prevent the live plucking of ducks and geese you should avoid buying duvets and pillows and cloths stuffed or lined with duck or goose feather or down. There are so many excellent synthetic alternatives that the use of feathers and down is not now  necessary either for bedding or clothing. Recently I bought a very warm specially insulted coat entirely synthetic and it is as warm as any lined with down. You do not need either their feathers or down taken from them with such barbaric cruelty.

Below you will find links too websites with more information and actions you can take to bring about the cessation of foie gras production and live feather plucking.

Also on this website related link  Sentient Geese

References and links:

PETA Media Center > Factsheets > The Pain Behind Foie Gras

http://www.all-creatures.org/anex/duck.html

Take Action // Selfridges: Stop Selling Foie Gras // PETA UK

Global Action Network: Foie Gras: Fact sheets

http://www.stopforcefeeding.com/

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Photo credit: Goose Landing by flckr user H.Vargas Goose landing on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Licensed under creative commons license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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