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BIG BIRDS, BIG CRUELTY: factory farming of turkeys in Oz

I received an email earlier this year, and finally got to met a lovely lass, Lara Drew, who came to Brisbane from her hometown of Canberra to attend my Green Earth Day festival. Lara recently graduated with a Bachelor of Community Education and for her final year project she had the opportunity to research an issue in the community. This is Lara's story she's compiled (and somewhat of a guest blog!) on the plight of factory farmed turkeys in Australia.

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Last year Animal Liberation ACT (AL ACT) applied for funding from Voiceless – the Animal Protection Institute and received AU$6100 worth of funding in order to develop a campaign called Big Birds, Big Cruelty. Big Birds, Big Cruelty (BBBC) is a community education campaign designed to raise awareness of factory farmed turkeys in Australia, a little known issue currently. Lara Drew recently graduated from the Bachelor of Community Education and for her final year project got the opportunity to research an issue in the community. She chose to do a research project based around animal rights and decided to research an issue that had not been researched or campaigned about much. Through her research she found that there was little information and campaigns on factory farmed turkeys in Australia and thus that is how the BBBC campaign developed.


Like other factory farmed animals in Australia, turkeys are raised in miserable crowded sheds with thousands of others  for three months of their short lived lives. Three to five million turkeys are currently killed in Australia for meat but this number is growing. Turkeys are killed at 10-12 weeks when they are still only infants with unnaturally overweight and distorted bodies. They suffer a range of health problems such as heart problems, overweight bodies and have painful swollen joints with crippled legs (due to extreme fast growth). Turkeys have no more space than an A3-sized sheet of paper and experience lameness perpetuating mortality among the thousands of birds locked away in confined and crowded sheds.

There are two key components of the BBBC campaign. One component involves utlising the campaign resources developed to be used in future education campaigns by a range of animal rights organisations across Australia. The campaign materials AL ACT have developed are flyers, posters, stickers, postcards, t-shirts, a website, a documentary and an activist toolkit. The activist toolkit is a guide on how to campaign about factory farmed turkeys in Australia. All of these materials (which you can find ONLINE) will be shared at a national level with other animal rights organisations who may also want to campaign about the cause. Considering there are very little campaign materials and reports on turkey factory farming in Australia these materials aim to encourage and empower other activists to develop a campaign about the issue in their own state. Education is a key initiator of awareness and social change. So developing educational materials that other organisations can utilise is a vital component of education for social change and empowerment.

The second component of the BBBC campaign is campaigning at a local level about the treatment of factory farmed turkeys in Australia. Considering that this is a little known issue in Australia, the starting point for the campaign will be to raise awareness about the issue to the general public. Once this awareness has been raised more, activists can look at other campaign avenues.

  
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To conclude, the aim of the BBBC campaign is to raise awareness about a little known issue in Australia and to show the public just where turkey comes from and how it is produced. Like other factory farmed animals in Australia, turkeys are raised in miserable, confined and crowded sheds with no more space than an A3-sized sheet of paper. Turkeys are kind, gentle, interactive social birds and enjoy the constant company of other beings. Please talk to your friends and family about this issue and spread the word.

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Thank you Lara, for your work. Please get behind supporting Lara and AL ACT's work to help the turkeys in Australia.

For more information please visit their WEBSITE, find the campaign on FaceBook, and see all the great Campaign Materials available for YOU to use and distribute.


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