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Meet Mama T

Mama T (also known as Mamati) came to the sanctuary from a local small-scale farm, where she had been overcrowded with hens and geese in a small coop with a tiny mud yard. When she first arrived, she was so overweight from lack of exercise that she rarely walked more than a few steps at a time. Now she ranges widely and truly freely, visiting with all of the people and many of the animals at the part of the sanctuary known as “up the hill.”

"Mama T," a turkey at VINE Sanctuary

Mama T is both highly sociable and exceptionally curious, often going out of her way to meet new people or investigate goings-on. Earlier this year, she scared a contractor working inside a trailer by coming inside to see what all the banging was about. The contractor called Cheryl and whispered, “there’s a turkey in the trailer. What do I do?” They made friends, and Mama T dropped by for a visit every day the contractor was on the property.

Despite stereotypes of roosters “ruling the roost,” it’s Mama T who bosses the birds “up the hill.” Every former fighting roosters hop to it when she tells them to get out of her way!

Of course, we are writing about Mama T today because this is the day when so many people choose to express their gratitude for life by killing and consuming a turkey. So, even as we celebrate her verve, we mourn all of the birds whose bodies are used as symbols of conquest and gluttony every Thanksgiving Day.

wild turkeys in the woods

Wild turkeys at VINE Sanctuary, which reserves more than 60 forested acres as a hunter-free zone for wildlife.

Turkeys are much more than the symbols people make them into. If you want to learn more about turkeys as they really are, while also learning the history of people’s ideas about and uses of these birds, you can’t do better than to read More than a Meal by United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis.

14 comments to Meet Mama T

  • Kristin05
    I look forward to reading “More than a Meal”. Thank you to VINE for all of your good work this year. Happy Holidays to you all from a fellow vegan.
  • pattrice
    Marc, I’m so glad you wrote about that! Here at the Sanctuary, we’ve always supported Buy Nothing Day (the anti-consumerist alternative to Black Friday), and we’ll be blogging about that tomorrow.
  • Barbara Beierl
    When I read your blog and realize how well you know each and every animal, I am grateful to all of you who feel empathy and compassion for these nonhuman animals. People like you keep fairness and justice alive. Barbara Beierl
  • Marty
    Beautiful Mama T and her lovely story at VINE, thank you VINE for your comittment to life and all the animals.
  • Once again, thank you for all you do, and thanks for introducing us to this beautiful strong mama turkey.
  • CQ
    Someday there will be no need to allocate a “hunter-free zone.”

    In that day (which is already here and now, in my consciousness), sweet birds like Mama T. will live in the free. Part of “in the free” means, to me, the ability and desire of nonhumans to mix and mingle with humans, all of who, in truth, love to share space unselfishly with their beloved fellow creatures.

    A pipe dream? Or an existing spiritual reality, which can and will one day be manifested across this wide earth?

    By the way, Bravebird, when I read this sentence — “Now she ranges widely and truly freely, visiting with all of the people and many of the animals at the part of the sanctuary known as ‘up the hill.'” — my first thought was: “Aren’t animals people, too?” :-)

  • pattrice
    @CQ, right, we should have said “all of the animals, including the people.”
  • Renata Cheferrino
    Sou do Rio de Janeiro – Brasil ! meu marido e eu somos Veganos, nossa mesa é Vegana ! Grande abraço amistoso.
  • pattrice
    Obrigado! Nós amamos o ARCA Brasil. Você sabe-os?
  • CQ
    Yes, pattrice, and I also quite like: “All of the people, both human and nonhuman”! :-)

    I’m impressed with your Spanish! I goodsearched and found ARCA Brasil here: http://www.arcabrasil.org.br/english/index.htm

  • pattrice
    @CQ that’s Portuguese, actually, but don’t be impressed. I can’t do more than string together a simple sentence, and even that takes time and a dictionary.

    ARCA Brasil was one of the partners in the Global Hunger Alliance, which was an international coalition of environmental, social justice, and animal advocacy organizations which opposed the globalization of factory farming and promoted plant-based solutions to the world hunger and water crises. As coordinator of that coalition, I traveled Porto Alegre for the World Social Forum in 2003, and of course I memorized a few phases of Portuguese to see me through the process of riding the buses and trains, staying at a non-tourist hotel where nobody spoke English, and navigating the neighborhood of the hotel. I liked the language so much that, when I got home, I read up on its structure and history and also spent maybe a year trying to learn it on my own. But that was so long ago that I’ve forgotten almost everything I learned.

  • Charlotte
    I remember when you were learning it!
  • CQ
    @pattrice — oops, I KNOW Portuguese is the language of Brazil; don’t know WHY I forgot momentarily!

    But at least my goof elicited from you a fascinating description of your journey there on behalf of the Global Hunger Alliance. Ditto your “Obrigado!”

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