|Fall 1997 Poultry Press|
What Happened, What's Happening
"He [Dr. Stephen Vinson] was hitting birds on their heads and bodies. Wounds were opening up and blood spurting
out, both in the heads and bodies. Brain matter was protruding from the skulls while the birds were still conscious and
birds were on the ground jerking and suffering in pain. . . . [H]e could see the results as he continued through 22
On June 27, 1997, two medical doctors beat to death 22 penned emus with aluminum baseball bats in Colleyville, TX in Tarrant County. Dr. Stephen Vinson and his brother Russell got mad because they couldn't make money from the emus and couldn't load them in the truck. The last bird to die was described by the humane investigator as vomiting blood, with a blood-covered face, staggering around until the bird couldn't rise anymore. Vinson told the investigator "he didn't feel like he had done anything wrong" (Reuter June 28).
The Tarrant County District Attorney's office refused to prosecute. The attorney who made the decision told UPC president Karen Davis there was no proof the men's conduct was motivated by cruelty as defined by the state anti-cruelty law, adding that breeders all over Texas are beating their emus to death. (All those potential cruelty complaints involving "livestock.")
The Humane Society of North Texas seized 87 more emus, alive, from the 10-acre property.
Linda Yarbrough of the Animal Liberation League, in Arlington, TX, located a temporary shelter for the seized emus while arranging to transport 80 of the birds to The Humane Farming Association (HFA) Refuge in San Rafael, California. The birds were transported in air-conditioned trailers in three separate trips in August. They arrived in good spirits and are now living on a 20-acre piece of fenced land. HFA told UPC, "Our policy is never to turn away animals seized in an animal cruelty case. We were happy to help."
What Can I Do?