En route to bestowing our sixth annual Turkey Award, it's time to review the weird, the wacky and the wackos that keep the livestock world interesting. The finalists are:
The “Crowning Achievement” Award. When Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh ordered his final meal, he said “no meat.” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) proudly took credit for the mass murderer's decision. That's something to be proud of?
What's pink and dangerous? How about a pig with a hand grenade? In England, a pig named Bangers caused a major security incident when he wandered home with a live grenade he'd rooted out of the ground in Marlborough, Wilshire. Apparently, the grenade had been abandoned during army exercises on nearby Salisbury Plain.
“The hills are alive with the sound of ammonium nitrate.” What's more dangerous than a pig with a hand grenade? An Austrian cow re-entering the atmosphere.
Austrian livestock producers are required to dispose of dead animal carcasses, something the army used to handle for free. Because of recent budget cuts, however, there's now a $300/head charge.
Rather than pay the fee, farmers hatched the idea of dynamiting the carcasses into convenient, biodegradable bits. Problem is, the locals don't like hiking Alpine meadows strewn with cow parts.
The “Tough day on the job” award goes to American soprano Barbara Hendricks' pool cleaner. Hendricks called local authorities in Clarens, Switzerland, to report that she'd found a cow in her swimming pool. It seems the animal had wandered into her pool from a neighboring farm. Since the cow was pulled unharmed from the pool, it's unlikely she arrived there riding the concussion of dynamite from nearby Austria.
The “Gee, honey, your hair smells like…” award. A cow shelter in Jaipur, India, collects and sells the urine from its 155 cows as a cure for indigestion and skin cancer, and it sells soap containing cow dung. Its monthly sales at times approach $3,000/month. In addition, the shelter sells cow dung with the claim that when spread on the roof it can protect homes from nuclear radiation.
The “Children's champion” award goes to Paul McCartney. The PETA activist and former Beatle's latest cause is convincing youngsters to stop drinking milk. McCartney supports distribution in schools of PETA-produced pamphlets alerting children to the “dangers” of milk because it makes them “fat and spotty.” Let's hope Paul is less effective in this effort than he and his rock pals were in romanticizing illegal drug use for the kids of his generation.
Julia “Butterfly” Hill showed her commitment to preserving old-growth forests by living in a tree for two years. Now, Dona Nieto is “exhibiting” hers.
Nieto is “a topless conservationist.” In her campaign against clear cutting, she bares her breasts to lumberjacks to “represent Nature and put a human face on what is happening to the Earth.”
Nieto says that when she airs her “arguments” before loggers, the initial shock stops them from working. “But, then when they listen to what I'm saying, their heads start nodding,” she says. Well-shaped logic will do that, Dona.
In Egypt, a sheep being raised for sacrificial slaughter almost got in a preemptive strike on its owner. In Egyptian cities, livestock are often kept on roofs or in basements. One sheep's owner, Waheeb Hamouda, was severely injured after the animal butted him off the top of a three-story building where he had been fattening it for an approaching religious observance.
“Hey, it kinda tastes like humpback whale!” After being hit by a boat, an endangered leatherback turtle was brought to the Miami Seaquarium where it eventually died of its injuries. Being practical folks, and a bit hungry, the staff fixed it for lunch. Environmental activists went ape. Said one: “We're changing the name to the Miami Seaquarium and Barbecue.”
My apologies to the world's livestock, but the 2001 Turkey Award goes to a varmint — Osama bin Laden. Let's hope this turkey is served up by Thanksgiving.