Police chief accepts PETA offer, cops to hand out Tofurky


A Torfurky roast with stuffing, as seen on the Tofurky website.

Compliments of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Billings police officers could soon be handing out tofu turkeys to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations.

PETA made the offer Tuesday, after reading a Billings Gazette story involving frozen turkeys, the kind made of turkey, and Rich St. John confirmed that he has accepted the offer.

St. John said Tracy Reiman, executive vice president of PETA, made the offer in an emailed letter Tuesday morning, and this afternoon, he wrote back to accept it.

“Thank you for the generous offer to donate Tofurky roasts,” St. John wrote. “There is no shortage of families in need this holiday season and we would be happy to hand them out.”

He asked them to send the Tofurky roasts — a trademarked name for a brand of tofurkey made of organic tofu and wheat protein  — to Police Department headquarters at 220 N. 27th St.

The letter to St. John didn’t specify how many Tofurky roasts were being offered, but a PETA spokesperson told Last Best News that they would give the department 20 of them. That was the same number of frozen turkeys that Billings businessman Steve Gountanis donated to the department to be handed out last week.

It is also possible that PETA will send more than 20 roasts. The spokesperson, Audrey Shircliff, said that “we’re looking forward to discussing the offer further with them to determine how many they’ll be able to hand out.”

In the letter to St. John, Reiman said PETA wanted to donate the “delicious cholesterol-free Tofurky roasts” so they could be given to motorists, “including those who don’t eat meat for religious or environmental reasons or because they know how cruel factory farming and the slaughter of turkeys really are.”

The letter described turkeys as “smart, sensitive birds who have been known to enjoy clucking along to music and love to have their feathers stroked. In nature, babies stay with their mothers for up to five months, and they like to eat meals together as a family, much as humans do on Thanksgiving.”

“But in today’s slaughterhouses,” the letter continued, “fully conscious turkeys are shackled upside-down and their heads are dragged through an electrified stun bath, which shoots currents through their bodies, causing spasms, burns, and fractures. Many birds are stunned improperly and are still conscious when their throats are cut and they’re immersed in scalding-hot water to remove their feathers.”

Shircliff said PETA was still sorting through the logistics of the deal but would be sending the Tofurky roasts to the Police Department as soon as possible.

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