Turkey is a tragedy, not a success story Turkey welfare should be considered too: letter

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The Independent Online
After a series of articles on meat where he has often criticised factory farming both from an animal welfare and taste perspective, how could Michael Bateman be so uncritical when it came to poultry (Review, 23 June)? Twice he mentions Bernard Matthews - yes, the same producer whose factory was exposed on Channel 4 just before Christmas both for its production and slaughter methods.

Turkey is not "the success story of our time" as he thoughtlessly writes. More the tragedy of our time. Bred for the breast, these unfortunate birds can barely stand and are unable to mate naturally. They live in overcrowded barns and when the time comes for slaughter are loaded quickly into crates, often incurring injuries and are slaughtered hanging by their ankles in spite of their great weight.

Michael Bateman then goes on to talk about ostriches. The last thing ostriches need is "their Bernard Matthews". Since ostriches cannot oil their feathers (they have no preen gland) they have to be kept indoors in wet weather or they become waterlogged and can suffer from pneumonia. MAFF doesn't recognise a humane method of slaughter so any birds bred here for meat will have to be exported like the cargo which died of heat exhaustion at Manchester Airport last summer.

Susan Dickens

Hove, East Sussex

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