Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Pay No Attention to That Turkey Being Slaughtered


Posing for photographers with her felled caribou, her child inches from its bleeding mouth, Sarah Life-Is-Precious Palin is not confused about where meat comes from.

So the turkey being slaughtered in full view of the camera as she conducted an interview at Triple D Farms in Wasilla this week probably doesn’t phase her.

But most Americans don’t want to see the transformations their turkey went through to get to their Thanksgiving dinner table.

How it lived, how it was shipped, who hung the struggling bird upside down on the conveyer to transport it to the awaiting blade, et cetera–are not thoughts that improve the taste of the cranberry sauce.

Nor will the economy get so bad people will have to take jobs as “live hangers” like Sam, not his real name, last year.

“Today I saw about 50 dead turkeys on the trucks, and about 80 live birds fell onto the floor,” he writes in a diary he kept while working at House of Raeford Farms in Raeford, NC, the seventh largest turkey producer in the US.

“A worker tried to throw a turkey up to the double-sided dock from its rail side. The bird was about to hit the rail when another worker kneed the bird and then kicked it, knocking it back down to the floor. The worker threw the turkey a second time, but it hit the underside of the dock and dropped straight down to the cement floor for its third time that day. The bird lay in watery feces for about two hours before being picked up and hung on the line – the turkey could keep its head up and blink; it was otherwise motionless.”

Mom or Grandma may put hours of care into roasting, basting, stuffing and perfecting their butter brown bird.

But care is not the operant word at the slaughter house as workers throw, swing and “box” at the birds as they unload trucks in video Sam shot.

One worker holds a turkey to be crushed under a truck’s moving tires just for the heck of it; others pull heads and legs off turkeys for fun.

Workers insert their fingers into birds’ cloacae (vaginal cavities), remove eggs and throw them at each other in a depraved game.
Because turkeys are drugged and bred to grow so quickly, their legs can’t support their own weight and many arrive with broken and dislocated limbs says Sam. When you try to remove them from their crates, their legs twist completely around, offering no resistance–useless and limp.

The turkeys must be in a lot of pain but they don’t cry out, observes Sam. In fact the only sound you hear as you hang them, he says, is the “trucks being washed out to go back and get a new load.”

Most people admit they don’t want to watch laws or 40 pound Thanksgiving turkey carcasses made.

Nor do they want to watch a helpless turkey unceremoniously fed into a wood chipper behind Sarah Palin’s head as KTUU TV broadcast.

But will they eat the same bird when it is passed to them on a plate next to mashed potatoes on Thursday? You betcha.

MARTHA ROSENBERG is staff cartoonist on the Evanston Roundtable. She can be reached at





Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
Lara Gardner
Why I’m Not Voting
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017