A radio station plans to kill Christmas turkeys live on air as part of a controversial competition - and Queen guitarist Brian May has vented his anger on Twitter. He says he is 'disgusted'.
Listeners to Oxfordshire based commercial radio station JACKfm have been asked to decide the fate of two free range turkeys.
In a poll on the station’s website, they’re being asked to vote “cook it or keep it” – if the decision is to “cook it” they’ll be killed live on air and then eaten by listeners at a Christmas party during the breakfast show.
The turkeys, named Sage and Onion, come from Callow Farm – a free range local farming business that is run by fourth generation farmer Dave Holoway.
The turkeys featured on the breakfast show are the only two not to have been killed for this year's Christmas trade.
Breakfast Presenter Trevor Marshall says: “The majority of people in the UK eat meat.
"If they have a problem with this then they’re hypocrites and should be opting for the nut roast.
“There is nothing better than one of these free range birds who have literally spent their lives running through orchards.
"We keep saying we should make an effort to know where our food has come from - well I know where these have come from, lets man up, be honest and eat these turkeys - what else are they good for?
At the moment, 62% of people are voting to cook the turkeys.
But the RSPCA has condemned the stunt.
A spokeswoman said: "While we appreciate this is intended as a light-hearted festive feature the RSPCA opposes practices that have the potential to cause animals pain, suffering or death in the name of entertainment.
“The RSPCA does not see the entertainment value in killing an animal for this purpose.
"We would strongly urge the radio production team to rethink this stunt.
“If the decision is taken to slaughter the turkeys then there are some quite serious legal implications regarding the slaughter - it has to be correctly carried out by a trained slaughterman.
Regulations also state:
It is an offence to cause - or permit - avoidable pain, excitement or suffering to any animal
How animals must be handled, stunned, slaughtered or killed
That the people involved in moving, lairaging, restraining, stunning, slaughtering or killing any animal must have the knowledge and skill to perform those tasks humanely and efficiently
That only permitted methods can be used to stun and kill animals, and the person involved must have a registered licence
The RSPCA spokeswoman added: “If the turkeys are kept the new owners would need to remember that turkeys are intelligent birds and they need things to keep them active and engaged, such as objects to peck at and perch on, and plenty of space to exercise and stretch their wings. If there is a decision to 'keep' the birds, the RSPCA would like to know how this is going to be facilitated.”
Queen guitarist Brian May expressed his 'disgust' in a tweet.