Sarah Palin conducts interview while turkeys are slaughtered in background. [Video]

Via Merete Mueller
on Nov 22, 2008
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Even though I was raised a vegetarian (I am no longer), my extended family ate meat, and it was my family’s job to visit the local turkey farm each November to pick up the bird. I have one especially vivid memory (I must have been about seven) of waiting by the parking lot while my parents when into the barn to pay the farmer. Behind a wire fence was a huge field filled with turkeys, hundreds of them, still alive, gobbling and pecking at the dirt. Now, I really have nothing against birds being killed for food, as long as the process is sanitary and the birds are kept in good health with space to roam (unfortunately, that rules out most chicken and turkey meat available, unless you’re lucky enough to live by a farm.) But you’d think that the interviewer would have thought to ask Sarah to move at least a few steps to the right or left, so she wouldn’t be filmed chatting it up while turkeys are slaughtered in direct view.

Then again, maybe America’s shock and awe at seeing a turkey being killed is a sign of how distanced we are from where out food comes from. Millions of Americans will chow down on turkey this Thursday, so now at least we have an idea of how they’re put to rest. Still, the awkward juxtaposition of Sarah Palin’s smiling, all-American chatter (complete with wink) and a turkey’s slow and morbid death is sort of hilarious. 



About Merete Mueller

Merete is a writer and filmmaker, and was once-upon-a-time the Managing Editor of elephant journal's print incarnation, from 2006-2008. Today, you can find her on Twitter @meretemueller and on her blog To The Bones. Her first documentary, "TINY: A Story About Living Small", about people who have downsized their lives into homes the size of a parking space, premiered at SXSW in March 2013.


11 Responses to “Sarah Palin conducts interview while turkeys are slaughtered in background. [Video]”

  1. lindsey says:

    Thanks Heather, I totally agree with your point that we are so disconnected with where our food comes from, I believe it’s a good thing if you are going to eat meat to understand all of the circumstances of how that meal got to your plate. It was really odd though with this video, I wonder what the camera man was thinking? I’m currently a vegetarian, but grew up eating meat and as a sidenote, every Thanksgiving my Dad used to surprise me and my sister and chase us with the bird in hand before it went into the oven. I love my dear old Dad but how he could ever think that was funny! Traumatic.

  2. Andrea says:

    Hi Heather, it’s funny you should mention how distanced most of us are in the developed world from the food we it. I’m currently living in Papua New Guinea, and recently witnessed a village pig get slaughtered in probably not the most efficient way. I was traumatized, but it seemed like a fun activity for most of the villagers. I don’t eat meat, but I’m positive any other american omnivore would not have wanted to eat that pig after witnessing how it died because we are not used to seeing where our food comes from. We’re just as ignorant when it comes fruits too. My Papua New Guinean friends love it when I tell the story of how my boyfriend (American) thought pineapples grew on trees until he saw one growing here (BTW, they grow from small agave-like shrubs). Thanks for the article!

  3. leandor says:

    Watching turkey being slaughtered saddens me. Eating turkey makes me happy. So, Im torn.

  4. Alyssa says:

    I’ve got a certain respect for anyone who can stand there and chit chat on public television while an animal is being slaughtered 10 feet away. I wonder if she knew the turkey was in the shot. On the other hand, it furthers my conviction that she makes a better sidekick for Conan than a politician. Then again, Conan is currently governing California. Shucks…

  5. admin says:

    Mari Carlin Dart Today at 11:40am

    Somehow that video is the perfect commentary on our little Mrs. Palin. It articulates eloquently what words could ever contain.

    Eleanore Kerr (Houston, TX) Today at 1:28pm

    If you want to eat meat please understand how it’s done! Sheesh.

  6. admin says:

    In a day and age when we Americans have access to healthy veggie food—and when a vegetarian diet is both cheaper and healthier than a meat-heavy one—anyone who eats meat or fish that’s not killed in their local community after a free-range lifetime needs to go over to and watch and learn a little compassion. As Buddha say, it is

    only our capacity for mercy that distinguishes us from the animal realm.

    I’m a 190 pound man with plenty of energy—too much, some might say—and I’ve been veggie for 6.5 years. It’s easy, and it feels good, and with restaurants like Watercourse in Denver and Mountain Sun, Kitchen or Sunflower in Boulder, eating mindfully (veggie or free range or sustainably-harvested) is getting too easy and yummy to ignore.

    ~ Waylon

  7. She doesn’t speak properly. She leaves out important words in her sentence structures.
    And the turkey? I am not really surprised that would be her backdrop of choice. It looked like quite a long and slow death for the turkey, I have never seen this method before, I was actually quite horrified.

  8. Ellie says:

    Growing up, if my brother and I wanted to eat meat then we would be shown how to kill it and asked to do it ourselves. Since the only animals that I was able to kill was a turkey, a chicken, and fish-that was all I ate. Today these animals lead miserable, cruel and unhealthy lives before they are slaughtered in a way that most often prolongs their suffering. I think that the more people now how their meat is made the better-it may seriously change some people’s minds and hearts. Oh-if you really want to be “green”-stop eating meat! 🙂

  9. Cassandra says:

    Wow. That activity in the background was pretty morbid- I had no idea that it was done that way. In fact I still don’t really understand what was going on. Was it being suffocated? Well, as a vegetarian, I can’t say that I’m not extremely disturbed by this video, but I won’t criticize something that I don’t understand. Maybe that farm in the background was a local one, in which case the conditions are probably a little more humane than those of a factory farm (ugh…disgusting). I’m with Heather in my belief that there’s nothing wrong with people eating birds, but I too believe that animal slaughter (and raising) should be done in the most clean, peaceful, and kosher way possible. In fact, I probably would’t feel so weird about the video if the farmer had kept his eyes mindfully on his work instead of grinning at Sarah Palin’s back.

  10. Meredith says:

    oof, she makes me cringe! She probably wanted this video exactly as it is to boast her image… tough Alaksan, close to nature and all that. I’m still confused as to how she even had a chance in the elections. What a fantastically dangerous person.

    I’m glad that Seattle has farms all around, so I can find meat that’s local and know where it came from. In this way, I like eating meat every now and then, especially game meat. For me, the most propelling reason I would be vegetarian is animal cruelty.

    As for Thanksgiving, I’m torn… I’m doing the cooking and I mean, I grew up having turkey but I never liked it much, especially all the leftovers. Anybody big tofurkey eaters? So, what I’m going to do, I don’t know.