Victims in the shadows: emus

This series of short blogs hopes to shine a spotlight onto ways that humans exploit other creatures for financial gain, ways about which the majority of consumers are unaware. This is not intended to shock; it’s intended to illustrate and provoke thought.  All the atrocities we commit, are what inevitably happens once a regime of oppression has been universally accepted to the point where it is not even not even perceived as oppression, and passes unchallenged by the majority.


This is what has occurred with speciesism, and that deeply entrenched prejudice lurks in the terrible shadows at the heart of every single one of the uses of our fellow creatures that we make, demand and pay for.

Just as a reminder, speciesism results in the practice of according or withholding the rights that belong to others by virtue of their birth, based solely upon their species. It is a prejudice with which we are indoctrinated from childhood, that leads to our unfounded assumption that we may harm and kill members of all other species for whatever trivial reasons we devise, without conscience and without any moral justification whatsoever.  Most of us reach adulthood completely unaware that the prejudice even exists, despite the fact that it dictates almost every choice we make in our nonvegan lives as we needlessly butcher, flay and pluck, mutilate and torment our way through our lives. Against all logic and all common sense, while committing atrocities so vile that we choose not to know the details, we cling firmly to the illusion that we actually care about those whose planet we share.


So today the spotlight will shine on emus. Did you know that the farming of emus is once again increasing in popularity due to consumer demand for ’emu oil’. I decided to look into this new horror that I was previously unaware of and here’s a brief summary.

A soft-feathered, brown, flightless bird that can reach up to 1.9 metres in height, the emu is native to, and farmed in, Australia but also in North America, Peru, China, India and elsewhere.

Emus are primarily farmed for their dead flesh, their skin, feathers, and in particular, an oil made from the fat of slaughtered individuals. Native to a frequently challenging environment, emus have fat stores on their back for survival. If food is scarce, they can tap into this and can go weeks without eating if they have enough in their reserves.

Following a lull in demand in the early 2000s, demand is currently increasing for emu oil which is sold as an anti-inflammatory although claims about the efficacy of this appear to be highly suspect and unproven.

Emu feathers are used for fishing lures, hair extensions, flower arrangements, hats and numerous decorative arts and crafts. As is also inflicted upon geese, ducks and some other species, feathers are sometimes plucked from living birds, where the excruciating process can be repeated when they grow back. This causes agony for the bird who is often blindfolded while this occurs to prevent them their attempts to defend themselves. Because each feather is held firmly in a follicle where there are nerves receptive to pain, the victims are covered in blood by the end of the plucking process.

With a natural lifespan of about 60, they’re slaughtered before reaching the age of 2. Like the majority of our needless victims, emus are gentle individuals who resist every step of the way to the slaughterhouse as they are captured, terrorised, shoved onto trucks, deprived of food and water then taken to their deaths.

Upon arrival, they are herded off the trucks to the kill floor. They are then shot with a captive bolt or electrically stunned then hung upside-down before their throats are cut, still alive as their blood begins to drain which is the norm for the slaughter process as applied to all our land-based victims. Like the vast majority of the victims of nonvegan consumer demand, the terrified individuals die a lingering and painful death.

Leather’ made from the flayed skin of deceased birds has a distinctive patterned surface, due to a raised area around the feather follicles in the skin and is used in such items as wallets, handbags, shoes and clothes

So there we have it. Yet another example of the needless brutality of a species that claims to ‘love animals’. Living in line with the values we ALL claim to hold means living vegan. There’s no other way. Be vegan.


Find out more about emus and ostriches from United Poultry Concerns .

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8 Responses to Victims in the shadows: emus

  1. Karen Davis says:

    Thank you very much for your article about emus. We’ve had a long-standing campaign on behalf of ostriches and emus and are pleased to see your blog depicting the nightmare our species has brought to their lives.

    Karen Davis, President, United Poultry Concerns

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Which is why I hate those “ostrich festivals,” where families are simultaneously supposed to think the birds are cute and delicious. Then there are the products with emu oil, which is probably not unlike so many snake oil cosmetics and remedies that do not work any better than less cruel alternatives. Ugh.


  3. Pingback: In a nutshell: the victims of vegetarianism | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

  4. Pingback: Vegan and vegetarian – why they are not similar | There's an Elephant in the Room blog

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