To view all four of today's letters
in response to "About a Bird" (Op-Ed, Nov. 24), click
The New York Times
November 26, 2003, Wednesday, Late Edition - Final
Section A; Page 24; Column 4; Editorial Desk
To the Editor:
Patrick Martins (Op-Ed, Nov. 24) cites a host of abuses to which
"industrial" turkeys are subjected - mutilations, impoverished
environment, artificial insemination, disease-filled sheds, genetic
disabilities, lack of exercise, ailments ranging from diabetes to
heart disease. He is wrong, however, when he says that "every
bit of natural instinct and intelligence has been bred out of these
turkeys, so much so that they are famously stupid."
I've been rescuing "industrial" turkeys for 13 years.
Despite their physical infirmities, these birds are sensitive, intelligent
and alert. They are also extremely sociable, as people who visit
our sanctuary are delighted to learn. Environment plays a key role
in eliciting expressive behavior in birds as well as in humans.
Let us remember this the next time we are tempted to hurl insults
at our innocent victims.
President, United Poultry Concerns
Machipongo, Va., Nov. 25, 2003
To the Editor:
"About a Bird," by Patrick Martins (Op-Ed, Nov. 24),
about the sad, short lives of Broad Breasted White turkeys, reminds
us that we have a choice about the horrid treatment of the animals
raised for our food. "It's no surprise that side dishes have
moved to the center of the Thanksgiving menu," he writes.
Thankfully, more and more people are discovering that a Thanksgiving
dinner without the turkey is more creative, colorful, flavorful
and guilt-free than one whose focus is the corpse of a bird who
lived an unnatural, terrible life.
Fairfax, Calif., Nov. 24, 2003
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150