To the editor:
(re: “Think about the animals,” Nov. 25)
I am writing in response to a letter by the president of American Humane, Robin Ganzert, promoting her group’s “Humane Certified” label, urging people who “care” about animals — turkeys in particular — to purchase the turkeys her group certifies for the holiday table.
Reading this letter closely, one does not see a single detail about how the Humane Certified turkeys are actually raised and slaughtered. Searching American Humane’s website, I did not find any specific guidelines or an informative definition of “humane” relating to turkey production.
For example, do the “Humane Certified” turkeys mate naturally, or are they “milked” and inseminated artificially by teams of workers, as in standard operations? How exactly are the Humane Certified turkeys killed? And are they slaughtered on the farm, or are they transported to slaughterhouses?
I would also like to know what American Humane’s policy is regarding the partial beak and toe amputation that is routinely practiced by standard commercial operations. In recent years, undercover investigations of so-called humane farming operations — including turkey operations — have revealed startling animal cruelty.
Butterball suppliers have similarly been shown to treat their turkeys badly.
Contrary to urging people to celebrate the holidays with a turkey, I urge people to consider new traditions that forego the turkey in favor of a truly compassionate table.
The author is president of the Virginia-based United Poultry Concerns