Let's Not Forget
Down and Feathers
Turkey is a very popular meat product and often the
centerpiece at Thanksgiving celebrations. What happens before the
turkeys reach the stores and dinner tables however, is absolutely
Happy Thanksgiving? Not for turkeys! about 40 million turkeys are
killed each year for Thanksgiving.
If you would like to find out more about turkeys, you are welcome to
visit my Animal
Facts Turkeys page.
Most turkeys are raised on factory farms. They are packed together in
very overcrowded sheds, where each bird has only 3 square feet of space.
Factory farmed turkeys live in crowded warehouses.
"Debeaking" and Toe Cutting
Living in overcrowded conditions creates
an enormous amount of stress for the turkeys, which causes excessive
pecking and fighting. To keep them from hurting or killing each other,
farmers cut off the ends of their beaks and toes. No anesthetics are
used. For some turkeys it is so painful to eat with their mutilated
beaks that they will starve to death.
Antibiotics and Genetic Engineering
Antibiotics and genetic engineering have been used to make a lot of
changes in commercial turkeys. On my Animal
Facts Turkeys page you can see what wild turkeys look like.
Wild turkeys are even able to fly short distances and often sleep in
Commercial turkeys have been altered to grow twice as fast, become twice
as large, have white feathers and abnormally large breasts. All these
changes have caused serious health problems like collapsed lungs, swollen
joints, crippled feet and heart attacks. Commercial turkeys are also
unable to reproduce naturally and are artificially inseminated instead.
Factory farm turkeys no longer look
like wild turkeys.
When the turkeys are 14-18 weeks old they are ready for slaughter.
Workers will usually grab them by their legs and throw them into crates.
The crates are then stacked on the back of trucks. In the winter some
turkeys freeze to death and in the summer some die of heat stress. It is
legal to transport farm animals for up to 36 hours without food, water or
In the slaughterhouse, the turkeys are hung by their feet on a moving
rail while fully conscious. First, their heads are submerged in an
electrified "stunning tank". This tank immobilizes them, but
doesn't render most of them unconscious. After this their throats are
slashed by a mechanical blade. Some birds are missed and continue on still
conscious. The next step on the assembly line is the scalding tank. The
turkeys are submerged in boiling water to remove their feathers.
This is nothing to be thankful for. Don't
buy turkey and definitely don't include it in a family celebration.
If you would like more information, you can visit the following links:
Hanging upside down and shackled by their feet,
turkeys enter the slaughterhouse.