<$BlogRSDUrl$> 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...

Friday, April 15, 2005

Yet More Rescues 

Well, we have new rescues again. We have been trying to get the photos for this entry loaded all morning. Something is wrong with the photo site, and it is driving us crazy! Grrrr!!!! After three hours of trying we have only gotten three out of four photos loaded. Hopefully it will all be straightened out by the time you read this.

The little dog was dumped in the woods right in front of our place about a week or so ago. Since it was dark we weren't aware of what they were doing until we heard the sound of a dog crying in the woods. We tracked him down by flashlight and found him sitting there, looking lost, scared, and confused. He was a little hungry, too. After we brought him a little food and petted him a bit, comforting and reassuring him, he was all too happy to follow us down into the yard. He is the sweetest, most well-behaved dog, too. Always s-o-o-o happy! Why do people do this???? What kind of a person dumps a poor little dog in the woods in the dark and leaves him all alone???? Some people are just so low. They make me sick. There is no excuse for treating him that way. NO EXCUSE!!!!!!!!

Breathe, Virgil. Breathe....

Okay. I am calmed down again now. Sorry about that ranting, but it has been awfully frustrating around here lately. Back to what I was saying...

Annie, the little hen, was found right right in the middle of the highway right after she fell off the truck. We had just passed the live-haul truck and seen the cage door open and swinging in the breeze when we came across her. This time it was a Sanderson Farms truck, though - not a Tyson one. I wasn't even aware that they had farms around here. Well, now I know. And I will be watching them too, now. Got that, Sanderson! You are also on my shit list now! Somebody was asking me about you recently, wondering whether you were any better than other companies, after seeing your advertising. Well, guess this proves you are not, huh?! You are just as big a liar as Tyson when it comes to your unethical business practices and uncaring attitude. And, of course, there is the matter of treating growers the way you do and using arsenic, too. Shame on you!

There I go again. These situations just make me so mad, though. Don't they have that same effect on you? Okay, let's try this one last time...

Anyway, we screeched the truck to a halt and blocked both lanes of traffic while we got her. Luckily, she only had a little road rash on her legs and a wing, which is all healed up now. Of course she was terrified, but she quickly settled down in my arms on the way home.

Now, she is doing great, but desperately in need of more room. Unfortunately, since we are so squeezed for space now, with the roosters still in that large infirmary cage, we had to resort to putting her in a cat carrier when we got home. But, we went out and fortified one of the old dog yards for her to be out in during the day, so she only has to be put in it and brought inside with us at night. We have been working hard on finishing up the new yard and house. Hopefully we will be done this weekend. I haven't been able to spend as much time on it as I had hoped when I started. Between being busy with my activist work and the condition of my back since I hurt it when the tree fell on me, it has been a slow process. Too slow. It's been really bothering me. They need to be out in a yard of their own. Badly.

You want to know something interesting, though? A couple of days after we got Annie home I was holding her while Laura was cleaning out the cat carrier. She was sitting there in my arms, all calm and watching what was going on, when all of a sudden a big diesel truck came down our road. She went nuts and was scared to death! Apparently she must have remembered what had happened to her and associated that sound with her terrible ordeal. She has never done that again. Another argument for chicken intelligence? I think so. What about you?

It is really looking like we will become another chicken sanctuary. We just keep finding these poor birds. I don't know what we will do once we run out of room. We have thought about that quite a bit. Perhaps when that time comes we will be in a little better financial position and can find someone around here with a little bit of land they will let us use for the chickens. Hopefully. Hey, I can hope, can't I? Stranger things have happened. Look at me, for instance. Someone that used to kill chickens for a living now goes out of his way to save them!

Never lose hope. There is always a reason for hope.

I am going to keep this post short today as we intend to get out there and try to get the new house and yard finished this weekend once and for all. I just thought that I should update you on what was going on around here and explain the reason behind my absence of posting lately.

I really want to thank those of you who have generously given to help me to give these new rescues a home. I have written you all personally, but I think you deserve to be publicly thanked. I just can't thank you enough for opening your hearts and doing what you can to assist in giving them a new life. I truly could not do what I do without the help of other caring people like you. The world certainly needs more caring people in it. And, like I have said before, I can use all the help I can get.

Oh, and I want to take a quick moment to let you know one more thing. You know the book, "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon," that I was asking for? Well, a reader kindly sent me a copy. Thanks again, C! Laura has finished it, and I will start it as soon as I am through with "Animal Factories."

Guess what? After I finished writing all of this, just before publishing, I got a phone call. The little dog has a new home! A very nice family. I know the name and where they live. Nice place. Laura's grandmother is on her way to take him over there right now. They were so excited to get him, too. I am so glad. It's a good thing, too. We were getting pretty attached to the little guy. So, I get to end this post with a very happy ending! :)

So, now you are all up-to-date. I hope that you all have a good weekend. I'm going to get me a bite to eat and get back to work. Hopefully, the next time I post it will be to announce more pictures showing the roosters and their new yard!
Posted by: # Virgil / 11:01 AM 0 comments Links to this post

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