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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sacrificial Rite


 White House ceremony to receive the 40th annual Thanksgiving Turkey: photographer unknown, 23 November 1987; image 17 October 2012 (Ronald Reagan Library/US National Archives)

The anthems of thanks that rise...... 
from the dark barns
where the artificially
mutilated, permanently

brutalized factory
farm food animals
 .................are hidden away
from the light of day
amid fear and squalor

in panic maelstrom
throughout their brief not-quite lives
may be counted as equal 
in number to
the tweets of praise 
Allah receives
......................from Gitmo 
when a brother is hung up
by his thumbs
three nights
and three days
......................but then  
questions put to living tissue
from above
..................can't be answered
from below
the karmic line
that separates "us"
from the sentient universe easily

 President John F. Kennedy receives Thanksgiving Turkey from Poultry and Egg National Board, accompanied by Senator Everett M. Dirksen: photo by Abbie Rowe, 19 November 1963; image 2 August 2012 (John F. Kennedy Library/US National Archives)

Happy Thanksgiving (from  a bunch of turkeys); photo by Paul Armstrong (wiseacre photo), 28 November 2008

Post turkey: photo by David Talley, 24 November 2011

Butterball Abuse 21: photo by Mercy for Animals, 8 December 2011

Butterball Abuse 20: photo by Mercy for Animals, 26 November 2011

Butterball Abuse 4: photo by Mercy for Animals, 1 December 2011

Butterball Abuse 1: photo by Mercy for Animals, 26 November 2011

Butterball Abuse 3: photo by Mercy for Animals, 30 November 2011

Butterball Abuse 14: photo by Mercy for Animals, 9 December 2011

 Broiler chicks in Canadian factory turkey farm: photo by Twyla Francois, 10 October 2010

 Broiler chicks in Canadian factory turkey farm: photo by Twyla Francois, 10 October 2010

 Broiler chicks in Canadian factory turkey farm: photo by Twyla Francois, 10 October 2010

  Dead broiler chicks in Canadian factory turkey farm: photo by Twyla Francois, 10 October 2010

Cruel loading of turkeys at Granny's Poultry Cooperative slaughterhouse in Blumenort, Manitoba: photo by Twyla Francois, 9 May 2011

Granny's catcher mooning us between throwing turkeys. Blumenort, Manitoba: photo by Twyla Francois, 10 May 2011

The load Sophie and Katie escaped. Overloaded transport truck, Granny's Poultry Cooperative, Blumenort, Manitoba: photo by Twyla Francois, 9 May 2011

  Overloaded, untarped Granny's turkeys en route to slaughter. Blumenort, Manitoba: photo by Twyla Francois, 9 May 2009

  Overloaded, untarped Granny's turkeys en route to slaughter: photo by Twyla Francois, 9 May 2009

  Overloaded, untarped Granny's turkeys en route to slaughter: photo by Twyla Francois, 9 May 2009

 Katie and Sophie grooming on first day outside after rescue by Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals from Canadian factory farm transport truck: photo by Twyla Francois, 17 May 2011

 Katie enjoying a dust bath: photo by Twyla Francois, 18 August 2011

Tom Turkey in full mating display. Just before sunrise, Catskill Mountains, New York state: photo by William Dalton, 4 May 2007

Turkey and pedestrian (Novato, California): photo by efo, 5 September 2007


Poet Red Shuttleworth said...

Nope... no turkey at my house... not in decades!!!

Red Shuttleworth

ACravan said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Tom (and Angelica), and thanks for this and for the fine efo and Catskill turkey photos. The latter shot reminds me so much of our own turkey families that made our lives and my mother's so beautiful in Tuxedo, NY, as they proceeded here, there and basically everywhere back then. Bringing it all back home and up to the present day (the two shots are great but President Reagan is so 25 years ago and President Kennedy so sadly 50 years ago), I was pleased to see the ever-vigilant Morrissey's statement about the current president, turkeys and Thanksgiving, which is found here:

It seems that the big storm has missed us, thank heaven. So I'm off on a new search for typos and eventually, I hope, settling down with a good book.


TC said...

It's estimated that 95% of Americans eat turkeys at Thanksgiving, which is why all those billions of sad manufactured turkeys come to (briefly) exist.

In the wild, a turkey lives ten years.

In the wild, they don't have monstrous human holidays.

After one Thanksgiving c. 25 years ago I asked a fellow how he'd spent the day. "In Emeryville with my sister, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."

Being part of any 5% is a distinction in itself.

To each her or his own anyhow, and many thanks, Red and Curtis, for coming by for the holiday feast.

You may require a stiff drink after the next course:

Butterball's House of Horrors: abuse of factory farmed turkeys

The Terrible Treatment of Thanksgiving Turkeys

Investigation of animal abuse at Butterball Farms, 2011

Butterball Abuse, 2012: continuing cruelty to animals at the nation's largest turkey killing farms

ACravan said...

As the joke in Airplane goes, guess I picked the wrong day to stop drinking. Curtis

TC said...

Know what you mean, Curtis.

When one sees the workers going not only beyond the call of duty but beyond the bounds of "civilized" behaviour in those turkey death factories, kicking and dragging and slamming birds which are defenseless and immobile, their beaks and toes having been rudely shorn -- it makes you wonder.

What kind of animal is this?

Wooden Boy said...

the karmic line
that separates "us"
from the sentient universe
so easily

It's false consciousness on a grand scale. That wider creaturely sentience is something I chose to push out of my head until very recently.

Ed Baker said...

I've watched this film
(My Life As A Turkey)
at least three times...
watch it :

ACravan said...

Your question is one actually worth losing sleep over and I just don't know. I see reflections in mirrors and images on tv screens (along with words) that I think should clue me in but I am still clueless. If this aspect of the agriculture business could legitimately and pejoratively be described as "conservative" (because it has persisted and been preserved for so long), it makes you wonder whether "progressive" values really exist or if progressives are simply "shelter" magazine subscribers who buy expensive in-home rotisseries, vote along predictable party lines because it's easier to do that than to try to discriminate among choices, and bandy about the word "humane" as if that signifies anything much. Happy Thanksgiving anyway. I must say that I enjoy the holiday much more now than I did when I was young and trapped among warring relatives and expected to be seen and not heard. Now when I'm silent, it's a choice. Curtis

TC said...

Many thanks to those who have been giving this a bit of thought. (And by the by, as the dark months come on, we here and undoubtedly everyone everywhere can surely use all the fellow-feeling we can get -- so for those who will be celebrating this holiday, in whatever fashion, and to their families, from the bats here in the creaking belfry of the endarkened haunted house, many happy returns of the season.)

With the passing of time, it may be that for some people of conscience the assumption of human dominion is coming to be questioned, not simply on ethical and moral grounds (basic matters of principle) but on grounds of practicality; it's coming to be seen by many that humans have not only fouled their own nest, but ruined the planet for everything else living, bit by bit by bit. The greed-fest which is the national Holiday of Thanksgiving would be a salient example. It's hard not to see this as being about business. Turkeys can be manufactured in vast numbers and made ready for slaughter in a short time, and "produced" so cheaply that this industry continues to be profitable even though there are many who are now recognizing the illusory (or worse, self-delusionary) element in the warm, securing "traditional" or "familial" feeling which comes seeping back into one who identifies the sight or smell or even thought of a roast turkey with All the Good Things. Now more than ever when it seems there are nothing but Bad Things, there is a frantic desire to preserve that illusion of glowing familial warmth, at all cost and indeed notwithstanding the nostalgia-challenging fact that it now appears the legendary Pilgrims' Thanksgiving was very likely a vegetarian feast after all.

All of this seems a human affair, a matter of human cultural and psychological need for meaning and feeling in a time when the numbing touch of cold plastic has come to replace every other form of interactive currency. The poor turkey is only an unwilling accessory, the sacrificial victim that was still alive and afraid even as they they dropped it into the scalding pot.

Elmo St. Rose said...

great social could say that the mass consumption of turkey,given the brutalization of the food prior to consumption is not Kosher...maybe the Rabbis and Imams will pick up on this...we have, however much to be thankfull for though around us Black Friday, Gray Thursday, and
Cyber Monday besmudge a Holiday for
Thanking God for reading this blog and viewing the
Tom Clark paintings hung on my walls...though Tom C may not attribute his gifts to a higher power...they're not just a product
of high IQ,dexterity and a clever

TC said...

Many thanks Elmo, and what can I say -- it's evidently a talent on loan from Pee Wee Herman.