9 December 2004; immediate use
| Juliet Gellatley, the Director of Viva!, the campaigning
vegetarian group, with her new feathered friend, Bert the turkey
|Bert the turkey enjoys the freedom of his new home.
Bert the Turkey Wins Christmas
If you’re vegetarian, what do you do when you win a turkey
at Christmas – particularly when he’s alive and kicking
and you’re asked when you would like him killed? That’s
what happened to 73-year-old, retired plumber Ray Stroud and his
wife Maura, from Somerton, Somerset.
They have been veggies for 30 years and were delighted when they
won a mystery prize in their local church raffle. Their delight
soon turned to dismay when a local farmer rang them and told them
the prize was a turkey, was still running around and when would
they like him slaughtered. “The last thing we wanted was
for an animal to be killed for us so, without thinking, I asked
the farmer if we could have the bird alive. We then looked
at our little semi and realised we had nowhere to keep him.”
Ray phoned national animal campaigns group Viva! for
help and director, Juliet Gellatley, immediately offered to take
Bert to her home near Chepstow, where he will have a dozen rescued
battery hens for company until a mate can be found for him.
It was a sad Ray Stroud who handed Bert over to Viva! to
begin his new life of freedom. “He’s a very friendly
chap and incredibly inquisitive. He doesn’t seem to
mind my dog in the least and he definitely craves company. I’m
really going to miss him!”
It seems it wasn’t just Ray and Maura who won the Somerton
raffle but Bert as well. Had it not been for their compassion,
this 15 lb, handsome bronze specimen would have joined the other
10 million turkeys slaughtered in the run up to Christmas. Juliet
Gellatley says she is delighted to have her new friend and her
two-year-old twin sons Jazz and Finn think he’s fantastic!
“Bert is settling into his new home, and has already endeared himself to
the whole family. He is a total individual - a bit of a character with an enormous
personality and a sense of both fun and mischief. I’m sure, given
half the chance, he’d happily flip the bird at those who’d rather
see him as Christmas dinner!”
“We might not all have the room to give a home to a rescued
bird”, continues Juliet, “but we can all save a turkey
this festive holiday. The best Christmas present you can
give yourself - and to all animals - is to go vegetarian!”
”I hope that at this special time of year, people will spare
a thought for the 28 million other Berts and Berthas who died throughout
2004, most of them crammed into filthy factory-farms for their
short and painful lives. Bert is going to have the run of the countryside
and become part of our family. Now that to me is a reason
for saying ‘merry Christmas’”.
For all those who want to give turkeys a break and go vegetarian
this year, Juliet is offering to send anyone who wants one a free
copy of Viva!’s Christmas Celebration Feast leaflet. Written
by Jenny Seagrove from the TV series Judge John Deed,
it contains delicious meat-free recipes for all the family and
will help to bring real peace and goodwill to the Christmas season. Ring
0117 944 1000. Bert thinks it’s a great idea!
For further information, contact Tony Wardle/Justin
Kerswell on 0117 944 1000.
Notes for Editors
Photographs of Juliet and Bert, in his new home, are available.
Contact Justin Kerswell on 0117 944 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about Viva!’s investigations and still
images of turkey suffering are also available in all formats. Alternatively,
Copies of the Celebration Feast leaflet and images from it can
be supplied by Viva! or viewed online at http://www.viva.org.uk/christmas/index.html