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Happy Christmas for one turkey

PUBLISHED: 19:00 21 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:04 03 March 2010

A TURKEY called "Christmas" will be pecking around a Suffolk garden on December 25 after a psychotherapist saved her from a terrible festive fate.

The lucky gobbler was rescued from the inevitable in a gesture against intensive animal rearing by a woman who lives near Woodbridge.

A TURKEY called "Christmas" will be pecking around a Suffolk garden on December 25 after a psychotherapist saved her from a terrible festive fate.

The lucky gobbler was rescued from the inevitable in a gesture against intensive animal rearing by a woman who lives near Woodbridge.

"There have been stories about the way birds are treated and I just wanted to save one," said Gloria Wade, who bought the turkey at a farm where the birds are intensively reared.

"I know it sounds silly and sentimental," she said, telling how she paid £25 – about double the turkey would have cost ready for the table from the butcher.

Ms Wade said she picked "Christmas" because she had a hole in her back which the other animals were beginning to pick at.

"They were all going to be killed but I thought she'd have a harder time of it," she said, explaining how she selected the bird she was to save.

And she christened her turkey "Christmas" so that this time next year she could take a picture of the animal and label it "a happy Christmas", Ms Wade said.

Oblivious to the terrible fate she only just avoided, Christmas has settled into a specially made hut in the garden where she can peck away to her heart's content and is safe from roaming foxes and rats.

"She's a lovely little character. She plays ball and follows us around," said Ms Wade, a vegetarian who will be eating the meat substitute Quorn, along with more traditional trimming such as cranberry sauce and stuffing, for Christmas dinner.

Ms Wade said of intensive and battery reared animals: "For the last two decades I've been very concerned of the effect, not just on animals but on the food chain, of people eating unhealthy animals – which is what they are."

In light of BSE and the foot and mouth disease crisis, Ms Wade said she was surprised more had not been done to avoid the consequences on the food chain of eating such animals.

And she said that it was psychologically and physically unhealthy to block from your mind the conditions in which the food you ate was reared.

"I'd ask for a healthy life and humane death," she said of animals.


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