<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

In Memory of Lurch...... 

Today's post is a memorial to a wonderful turkey I came to know that shared his life with a very good friend of mine. When Lurch died, I wrote her asking if she would like to have Lurch memorialized on the blog, and so, this post is the result of us discussing all of this over the past few days. I decided to start out with the very first email I received that showed that he was in trouble. This came in on the 18th:

Lurch can't walk!

Geeze I'm SO worried about him!!!! I think he's sprained his ankle or something!!!!!! Poor fella!!!! His right foot is swollen too! I'll be out looking after him a lot today.


And the next day, I received this one:

Lurch has Bumblefoot!

He's going to have his feet lanced, and wrapped! So he won't be walking for a while, but if that's what it takes to save him then that's fine with me.


On the 21st:

See Lurch's Michael Jackson glove! (the photo is on the photo page)

He's actually got 2 of those gloves.

He's already trying to get up and stand! He makes it up about 1/4 of the way before he falls back down again. But he's really improving quickly!

This little venture set me back $114.00, but my baby Lurch is worth it!

We will be fixing something of a "sling" for him, so he can get some homespun therapy to gain his strength back. Got any suggestions for that? We sure could use some. We have to re-wrap his feet tomorrow too (cringe)!


And the sad news came on the 22nd:

Lurch died last night

I went out to check on him this morning, and he was already dead. I was concerned that he didn't feel like eating yesterday, but thought he may pull through. At least he's out of his misery now. I think it probably was his heart that gave out, but I'm not sure.

Factory farmimg has its cruelties that affect animals immediately, as well as having everlasting effects on various individuals.


I wrote her expressing our whole family's feelings and sorrow and to ask how Mrs. Lurch, also known as Chirpy, was taking this. This is what she sent:

It's coincidental that you mention Chirpy, because she is in extreme mourning, and she has been now for 3 days. Somehow she knew something that we didn't. We were very worried about her yesterday, and Wednesday, and even went so far as to mention that we thought she was getting sick or something. Even this morning I wondered if her heart was giving out too. She's also not eating, and her wings are drooping. She not nearly as energetic or talkative as she usually is. I'm very worried about her too now, but I don't know if I should take her to the vet or not. I'm just at a loss for knowledge when it comes to turkeys. I've really been comforting her for the last few days.


(She has taken her to the vet now and gotten her some treatment. We are crossing our fingers that she will pull through.)

Lurch appears to have died peacefully at least. I found him this morning just sitting in his little cubby hole, not a feather out of place. I guess he just gave up his fight. But that big guy sure knew he was loved I can say that for him. I am really going to miss him a lot. Lurch was a big part of our family.


And, after I asked her to write up a few things so that you would also "know" Lurch a bit better and understand why he was so important and loved, she wrote these remembrances of his life during the relatively short period of time that he lived with her:

I got Lurch last year from my former neighbors who weren't taking care of him or Chirpy very well. I couldn't think of a name for him until I noticed how he kept standing at the gate of the chicken pen with all his feathers stuck out. Every time I would go in and out of the chicken pen that first day, which was quite often, he would be standing there, at the gate, with his feathers all stuck out - guarding the gate. So finally after about 5 or 6 times of seeing him that way, I just thought he reminded me of Lurch on the old Adam's Family program, and I started calling him that. He learned quickly what his name was, and would look at me when I called out "Lurch!"

He and Chirpy both had a certain look of "welcome" when they would see you walking over toward them. They would raise their heads high up in the air and lean their faces way back, and just keep their little "chins" stuck so high up, as if to say, "I'm excited to see you're coming my way!"

Lurch was really just a non-eventful kind of guy. He was just a strong fluffy turkey for the most part, and didn't do much but stand there all fluffed out. But he was SOOOOOO LOVED!

And Lurch didn't like young boys and men. He would always fluff out and intimidate males between the ages of about 10 all the way up to men in their 20's. I guess he could sense the testosterone or something. But he LOVED females of any age. He hardly ever would fluff out at a female, and if he did fluff out at all, it wouldn't be a "full fledged intimidating" fluff, it would just be a "look at me" fluff.

If a male of any age went near Chirpy, he would fluff out and pace back and forth giving short quick spits at the "intruder." One time he tried to flog my teenage son., but he's so heavy he couldn't get his feet up. But he would give some ferocious slaps with his humongous wings! He had enough power in those wings that if he hit you just right, he could easily break your nose.

But he loved me the most I think. He would coo sometimes when I hugged him, and was never mean to me at all. We had a very strong connection.


And they did, too, as you can plainly see in the pictures I put up on the photo page. I got to know Lurch a bit myself when I went and did the Walk for Farm Animals in Nashville last year. He and Chirpy were both quite friendly, curious about everything, and interesting to watch.

He will definitely be missed...
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