Letter: Turkey abuse

To the editor:

On Dec. 14, the Kansas University Beta Theta Pi fraternity gained unwanted national attention as a result of alleged abuse and killing of a turkey who had been “rented” for a party. According to band members and witnesses, the bird was chased and choked and thrown like a football.

According to witnesses cited in news reports, when the turkey’s wing snapped, and then its leg, the animal began screaming. After this abuse, the innocent, defenseless bird was killed. KU officials, the Interfraternity Council, and the Beta Theta Pi office have expressed their dismay at this cruel, violent crime.    

If we find this conduct disturbing and cruel, I believe it is because this is one turkey with whom we can identify and for whom we can feel empathy. We might imagine what it would be like to be in the hands of a mob that finds it amusing to torture us. 

And yet, the anonymous turkeys whom we eat are just as innocent and defenseless. If we are capable of feeling compassion for this one, then our hearts are telling us to have the same concern for all turkeys. We can save them from the torture and death they endure every single day on farms and in slaughterhouses by refusing to eat them.