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Talking Turkey

November 28, 2009 Leave a comment

This Christmas 10 million turkeys will be killed and eaten in the UK. Added to the 45 million that have just met the same fate in the US for Thanksgiving, this represents one of the largest death tolls in such a short time period for any creature.

According to animal welfare charity Viva!, turkeys have a zest for living and, treated with respect, they become very friendly. Wild turkeys live in North and Central America and, apparently, Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be the national bird of the US instead of the Bald Eagle. They are striking and handsome, graceful and intelligent. They roost in trees and roam in woodlands, eating vegetation and insects. They live in harems – the mothers being very protective of their young. An adult bird can fly up to 50mph.

How sad then that they have become the food of choice for what is supposedly a Christian festival.

This is poet Benjamin Zephaniah’s plea for this cruelly abused and much maligned bird:

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas
Cos’ turkeys just wanna hav fun
Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked
An every turkey has a Mum.
Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas,
Don’t eat it, keep it alive,
It could be yu mate, an not on your plate
Say, Yo! Turkey I’m on your side.
I got lots of friends who are turkeys
An all of dem fear christmas time,
Dey wanna enjoy it, dey say humans destroyed it
An humans are out of dere mind,
Yeah, I got lots of friends who are turkeys
Dey all hav a right to a life,
Not to be caged up an genetically made up
By any farmer an his wife.

Turkeys just wanna play reggae
Turkeys just wanna hip-hop
Can yu imagine a nice young turkey saying,
‘I cannot wait for de chop’,
Turkeys like getting presents, dey wanna watch christmas TV,
Turkeys hav brains an turkeys feel pain
In many ways like yu an me.

I once knew a turkey called…Turkey
He said “Benji explain to me please,
Who put de turkey in christmas
An what happens to christmas trees?”,
I said “I am not too sure turkey
But it’s nothing to do wid Christ Mass
Humans get greedy an waste more dan need be
An business men mek loadsa cash’.

Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
Invite dem indoors fe sum greens
Let dem eat cake an let dem partake
In a plate of organic grown beans,
Be nice to yu turkey dis christmas
An spare dem de cut of de knife,
Join Turkeys United an dey’ll be delighted
An yu will mek new friends ‘FOR LIFE’.