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Vegan Fred Durham shocked as John Howe Turkeys at Lotland Farm, Biddenden Road, Tenterden, refuses to sell her live turkey for Christmas

By Rachael Woods

A vegan mum who wanted to save a turkey from slaughter was shocked when a farmer refused to sell her one out of concerns for the bird’s welfare.

Fredericka Durham, who is known as Fred, wanted to give a bird to her baby daughter Isabella as a first Christmas present to stop it from being served up for dinner.

But the 39-year-old, who lives at The Retreat Animal Rescue Centre in High Halden, was left reeling after the farm said they would not hand over a live bird as they “could not guarantee its welfare”.

Fred Durham wanted to buy a live turkey. Stock image.

Fred Durham wanted to buy a live turkey. Stock image.

Fred said: “There is an irony here in that the bird’s welfare will not be assured at all if it’s slaughtered. I was gobsmacked when the farm gave me its reasons – I just hadn’t envisaged that answer at all.”

She added: “Although Isabella won’t know what it’s all about, the best thing I can do is to save a turkey for her and let it live out its natural life.”

Fred, a mum-of-three, has a daughter Madeleine, 19, who is vegetarian and son Elliott, nine, who’s vegan. Baby Isabella, is four-months-old and also a vegan who is fed on soya milk.

Vegan Fred Durham who wanted to buy a live turkey for her baby Isabella

Vegan Fred Durham who wanted to buy a live turkey for her baby Isabella

John Howe Turkeys at Lotland Farm, Biddenden Road, Tenterden, was approached by Fred with the request for the bird.

Farmer Veronica Howe said that her husband John and herself took their responsibilities to the turkeys seriously.

She said: “Our turkeys are properly housed, fed and watered. We are vet inspected and every aspect of the turkeys’ wellbeing is monitored such as the quantity of straw and space they have.

John Howe with his turkeys

John Howe with his turkeys

“The guys I have working for me in the slaughter house are second to none and I personally supervise everything. Turkeys are reared for meat and ours are slaughtered humanely with all welfare procedures scrupulously adhered to.”

She added: “We’ve had two or three people contacting us trying to buy a live bird recently, but we have no guarantee how they will be looked after and people don’t seem to realise that turkeys live in flocks and shouldn’t be alone. We care deeply about our animals.”

Fred, who will be serving nut roast with all the trimmings on Christmas Day, said: “I can’t save every turkey in the world, I’m aware of that, but if I could just save one it would make it a better Christmas.

“I will still endeavour to buy my daughter a turkey for Christmas and save a life.”

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