Condemning the USDA’s Decision to Slaughter Wild Turkeys

Upon discovering a story entitled Feds round up wild turkeys on Staten Island for slaughter, I felt compelled to comment. Please consider leaving a comment as well.

“Let’s call this practice what it is: a transparent form of speciesism. In other words, if you’re another species, and you get in our way or become a “nuisance” to us, we’re going to massacre you — not because we have to, but just because we can.

Might makes right. That’s the underlying premise for treating other species like trash, killing them off when they get in our way, destroying their habitat so we can play golf, breeding more so we can use them for target practice, taking away the babies of others so we can view them in captivity for our own amusement, breeding billions of others through artificial insemination so we can destroy their lives in their youth in a slaughterhouse, emptying our oceans of trillions of sentient life forms so we can buy a can of tuna, and then subjecting millions of others to needless pain and suffering in lab experiments intended to find cures for the diseases caused by eating them. We create all of our own conflicts with animals. We create a staged competition with other species to use as a pretext for destroying their lives, “for our own protection,” of course.

I rescue and raise chickens and other birds that come from a kill shelter. The germaphobe chicken keepers in this comment string have got things a little twisted. They blame the victim, not the perpetrator. They blame the birds for defecating. They excuse themselves for a much more egregious offense: buying and using them for their eggs and flesh directly from the hatcheries — the cruelest industries on earth — which creates the problem in the first place. Think for a moment how that victim blaming serves us. Voltaire famously wrote that “If we believe in absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.” What a prophetic statement to describe the utter selfishness and sociopathic age we live in.”

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About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the founder and director of Free from Harm. As an activist, author and speaker, Grillo focuses awareness on the animal’s experience and point of view, drawing on insights from sociology, psychology, popular culture, ethics and social justice to bridge the gap between humans and other animals. As a marketing communications professional for over 20 years, Grillo has worked on large food industry accounts where he gained a behind the scenes perspective on food industry marketing.


  1. Excellent article. Absolutely right. Human interests, even the most trivial, come before the other animals we share this planet with. Not surprised about the USDA decision to kill the turkeys. After all, look at its pathetic enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. Look at the records of other govenment agencies, e.g., the USFWS and its horrendous record of killing wildlife, including wolves. Look at the state departments of fish and wildlife who get much of their funding from hunting licenses. Look at the record of the Bureau of Land Management and its treatment of wild horses and burros. Look at the human greed and apathy and then mourn for the victims.

    By the way, the uses of the words “trash animals” is interesting. There is also an excellent book by that title (Trash Animals) edited by Kelsi Nagy and Phillip D. Johnson. It looks at our description of animals as worthless and our subsequent treatment of them, all based, of course, on how useless or troublesome we perceive them to be for us.

  2. “A universe is indeed to be pitied whose dominating inhabitants are so unconscious and so ethically embryonic that they make life a commodity, mercy a disease, and systematic massacre a pastime and a profession.”- J. Howard Moore

  3. We are talking about fewer than 100 turkeys but the way this is being carried out is symptomatic–as Robert Grillo points out– and a mirror in microcosm,of what we do to animals every day in every little way–when they are not serving our desires and our uses.

    • Victoria, they may have killed a certain number of turkeys here but the number was only limited by the number of turkeys there. The USDA WS kills over 3 million birds and other animals every year and justifies it all with the same type of meaningless unscientific lies. This is a government agency paid for by taxpayers that acts like an animal gestapo and they kill and lie to keep themselves in business. Taxpayers should have a say in this and should be able to DEMAND it stop.

      Pulitzer prize winning journalist Tom Knudson did a series of investigative articles on the USDA WS.

      “The Killing Agency – Wildlife Services (USDA WS) brutal methods leaves a trail of animal death.”

      USDA’s own stats on their wildlife killings, over 3 million, for 2012 includes 850,000 cowbirds, 306,000 blackbirds, 76,000 coyotes, 91,000 pigeons, 21,000 double-crested cormorants, squirrels, raccoons, 30,000 beavers, 25,000 Canada geese, and even cats and dogs.

  4. @Victoria Foote-Blackman: How do you know it is “fewer than 100 turkeys”? Are you from Staten Island? I am, and there are more than 100 turkeys. Maybe the Feds are admitting to that number of turkeys, but they are lying so it diminishes the atrocity. I am sure if they took the time and effort, they could have found somewhere to relocate them, but they probably will speak of the “cost”. The Feds speak of “sanitary conditions”, yet what about the slaughterhouses sanitary conditions? Birds defecate on cars all the time, so are we going to kill every one of them, too? I think someone on Staten Island who hates the birds and has connections initiated this killing. I hope their name becomes public.

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