11 Reasons You May Never Want To Eat Turkey Again

1. Newborn TurkeysCall Out Helplessly To Their Mothers, Which They Never Ever Get To Meet

In natural conditions, turkeys are family-oriented animals. They are loving mothers who care a tremendous amount for their newborns. Young turkeys, also called poults, learn critical survival skills from their mom including what to eat, how to avoid predators, and important social behaviors necessary for living. But on commercial turkey farms, turkeys are hatched in mass incubators and then packed into warehouses with thousands of other orphaned poults. It is exceedingly confusing and stressful for these young animals to be born into a world without a mom, or even a concept of what a mother is. They literally have no idea what is going on and it runs against all of their natural instincts. Check out this heart-warming clip of a hatching newborn turkey immediately searching for, and bonding with, his adoptive motherwho just so happens to be a man.

2. Turkeys Love To Be Petted

It’s not just puppies and cats who enjoy convenience at the hands of humans. Many turkeys, even those who have known great cruelty and abuse from humen, will merrily sit for hours having their plumages stroked. Loving Beatrice, above, a former factory farm turkey rescued by Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, is a huge cuddlerdespite having been mutilated by humans as a newborn. And Clove the turkey hen( pictured below) loves to nuzzle with her rescuers at Animal Place sanctuary.

3. Turkeys Form Deep Friendships And Emotional Bonds

The turkey industry would have you believe that all feeling and intelligence have been bred right out of domestic turkeys. This four minute clip quickly dispels these pernicious myths by focusing on the powerful relationships of rescued factory farm turkeys. Please dont miss it .

Susie Coston has worked with rescued farmed animals including many, many turkeys for nearly twenty years. In a moving tribute to a turkey named Hildy with whom she shared an 8 year relationship, Susie writes: Prevalent in our society are some deep misconceptions about turkeys: that they lack intelligence, that they dont have personalities, that there can be no kinship between humans and these animals who seem so very different from us. For eight years, Hildy walked up to people bearing such assumptions and altogether disarmed them. No one who fulfilled this bright, charismatic bird could doubt that turkey are someones with intellects, impressions, and unique characters people with whom we can have connections, individuals with whom we can share friendship.

Hildy loved people. Partial to having her featherings stroked, she would sit with guests for hours soaking up attentionHer best friends were fellow turkeys Kima, Rhonda, and Feather. They all adored spending time together and, when they werent at each others sides, would call out to one another to stay in touch. The companions loved to stray beneath the willow tree in the yard by their barn.

Humans often rationalize eating animals since they are think they are not intelligent enough to be self-aware. It is true that turkeys have unique personalities and feel emotional ache just like any other high-functioninganimal species.

4. Turkeys are Sexually Molested And Abused

Modern day turkeys have been bred to be so horriblylarge that they cant even mate naturally. Commercial turkeys are artificially inseminated: the industry euphemism for roughly constraining female turkeys, turning them upside down, and violently shoving tubes or syringes of semen into their vaginas. To collect the semen, employees known as milkers restrain male turkeys and forcibly masturbate them until they ejaculate. Turkeys are basically raped until they are impregnated, all because humans have genetically altered their natural physical forms.

One worker describes his brief stint at a turkey hen breeding facility in Missouri: The birds were scared, and beat their wings and struggled in panicHaving been through this week after week, the birds feared the chute and bulked and huddled up. The drivers literally kicked them into the chute I have never done such hard, dirty, disgusting work in my life: 10 hours of pushing birds, grabbing birds, wrestling birds, jerking them upside down, pushing open their vents, dodging their panic-blown excrement and exhaling the dust stirred up by terrified birds .

A writer for The Independent describes observing the milking of males: The turkey was already upside down in Pauls hands. He swiftly uncovered a hole amidst the featherings, devoted it a couple of tweaks, and there was the turkey semen, looking like a little bit of crumbly old toothpaste. We take this, said Paul, and suck it into a rubber tubing. Its then blown into the vagina.’

Many people have induced the case that the practices described here constitute rape: forced impregnation, and the violent sexual invasion of overpowered victims.( Have a look at the video above to see how violent and invasive this procedure really is .) Whether or not you agree with the terminology, it is indisputable that turkeys and other farmed animals are sexually molested, and their reproductive procedures perversely transgressed, for human avarice and profit. This is morally indefensible. For a thorough analysis of the sexual violation of all farmed animals, watch Bruce Friedrichs article, Does Eating Meat Support Bestiality ?

5. Young Turkeys Are Brutally Mutilated Without Painkiller

The extreme and unnatural crowding of turkeys on commercial farms is highly stressful, and causes them to be abnormally aggressive. Rather than make improvements to the birds environment, producers instead subject turkey poults( baby turkeys) to excruciating mutilations without anesthetic , simply cutting off non-essential body parts that could inflict or sustain trauma. De-snooding involves cutting off the snood, the fleshy red protuberance that hangs over turkeys beaks and is used to attract mates. De-toeing , or toe-clipping, is a painful debilitation inflicted with shears or microwaves, and is practiced despite the fact that it is associated with lameness and higher early mortality. Debeaking is performed utilizing sharp shears, a heated blade, or a high-voltage electrical current. Turkeys noses are loaded with sensory receptors, much like human fingertips, and this painful procedure severs and uncovers nerves. Some turkeys starve to death before they are able to eat again; others die of shock on the spot.

An article in the industry trade periodical Turkey World summarizes it this route: Poults come in one side of the service room bright eyed and bushy tailed. They are squeezed, thrown down a slide onto a treadmill, person pickings them up and pulls the snood off their heads, clips three toes off each foot, debeaks them, puts them on another conveyer belt that delivers them to another carousel where they get a power injection, usually of an antibiotic, that whacks them in the back of their necks. Basically, they have been through major surgery. They have been traumatized. They dont seem very good.

Check out undercover footage of shocking brutality at the largest turkey hatchery in the U.S.

6. Life On Factory Farms( Including Many Free Range Farms) Is Living Hell

Modern turkey farms, including many farms whose products are sold under free scope labels( insure Humane Facts ), mob up to 75,000 someones into a single shed, meaning each turkey is given as little as 2.5 square feet of space in which to move around. Turkeys can barely move past one another, and must wade through layers of excrement and urine, which causes painful ulcers on their feet and breasts. The air in these sheds is so polluted with dust, pathogens and ammonia that most birds suffer from painful respiratory diseases and eye ailments, including swelling of the eyelids, discharge, clouding and ulceration of the cornea, and even blindness. There is a high rate of viral and bacterial infections, and sick or injured individuals often languish unnoticed. When detect, they are typically killed via cervical dislocation or the crushing of the head or vertebrae by striking the birds against a wall or with an object. Overall, the welfare of commercial turkeys is so poor that industry production rates are set to absorb a pre-slaughter mortality rate of 7-10 %, which translates to an acceptable loss of between 20 and 26 million birds every year in the U.S. alone . In addition to these miserable conditions, investigations into modern turkey farms disclose the same horrific abuse year after year( find footage above ), including employees kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously hurling turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds ; birds suffering from serious untreated illness and injuries, including open sores, infections, and broken bones; and workers grabbing birds by their wings or necks and violently slamming them into tiny transport crates with no regard for their welfare. Mercy for Animals

7. Domestic Turkeys Still Share Much In Common With Wild Turkeys

Much has been made by farmers and food writers( namely, those who benefit from exploiting farmed animals) about the vast differences between the noble, intelligent, wild turkey, and domesticated turkeys on industrial farms whom, were told, are stupid, clumsy, and so cognitively deficient they could never survive in the wild. In fact, domestic turkeys display the same instincts as their wild equivalents, and it is only because of frankensteinian genetic interference by humans that they cannot fulfill certain instinctive behaviors. Domestic turkeys suffer much shorter lifespans than wild turkeys because selective breed for rapid growth of breast tissue( meat) means their organs and skeletons cannot keep up with their outsized exteriors; rescued turkeys frequently die within the first couple of years becausetheir hearts cannot render enough oxygen for their unnaturally big bodies.Their heavy-chestedness is also why they cannot fly or mate naturally, and why they often move with a difficult toddle, many eventually succumbing to total lameness. But as we saw in this video, domestic turkeys maintain complex vocabularies, social structure, cognitive abilities, and emotional lives. They are still closely related, genetically, psychologically, and neurobiologically, to their wild cousins. Whatever inadequacies they may exhibit by comparison are entirely the result of their ruthless manipulation by profiteering humans.

8. Turkeys Suffer Horribly During Transport And Slaughter

Virtually 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving every year in the U.S. alone . Slaughtered between 4 to 6 months of age, turkeys suffer unspeakable brutality during their final hours of life. Loading and transport to slaughter are exceedingly traumatic. Catchers enter the sheds in darkness to collect the birds as quickly as possible, grabbing them approximately by their ankles, carrying them upside down and stuffing them into crowded crates which are hurled onto flatbed trucks. In the process, many of the turkeys suffer broken wings and legs. Turkey carcasses are often downgraded or condemned in post-slaughter processing as a result of bruises and injuries sustained during transport. In addition, birds are legally transported for up to 36 hours without food or water, in open-sided crates where “they il be” exposed to weather extremes from scorching hot to freezing sub-zero temperatures. Many birds do not survive. In 2007, of the 260 million turkeys slaughtered in the U.S ., an estimated 988,000 nearly 1 million birdsdied during crating and transport to carnage .

At the slaughterhouse, turkeys are shackled by their feet and dragged upside down through an electrified water bath designed to stun them before their throats are cut. But in commercial slaughterhouses, the killing lines move so quickly that many of the turkeys are not properly stunned. The next station consists of an automated blade that cuts their throats as they pass by, causing them to slowly bled to demise. Those turkeys who were not properly stunned either suffer a slow, painful demise, or continue to flap and writhe, and miss the blade. Tens of thousands of fully conscious turkeys whose throats were not slit proceed to the next station on the assembly line: the scalding tank, that loosens their plumages for removal. They are boiled alive. Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

9. Virtually 1 Million Turkeys and Chickens Accidentally Boiled AliveEvery Year In U.S.

According to a new article from The Washington Post, nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive every year in U.S. slaughterhouses, where fast-moving lines often fail to kill the birds before “they il be” dropped into the scalding tank.

Now the USDA is set to approve a proposal that will allow poultry companies to increase carnage line velocities for the sake of maximizing efficiency and profit. This will certainly result in more birds being scalded to demise. According to USDA inspectors assigned to the plants, much of the cruelty they witness is a result of the rapid pace at which employees already run, struggling to flip thrashing birds upside down and shackle their ankles to the constantly moving disassembly line. When birds are not properly secured, or are improperly stunned, they miss the automated blade which slits their throats, and are still alive when they enter the scalder.

See the full story here.

10. Humane Turkey Slaughter Isnt Humane At All

A few days ago, in an effort to draw attention to the egregious misuse of the word humane by animal farmers, I shared a video here which had been posted to youtube as an example of humane turkey slaughter; a video in which the turkey is, quite literally, tortured to demise. My aim was to show how much violence this misuse of the word humane genuinely masks, and to emphasize that when we have no need to kill animals for food, theres no such thing as humane massacre just as theres no such thing as humanely mugging someone that are intended to steal their sunglasses. I was also hoping the video might result some potential purchasers of humanely created Thanksgiving turkeys to reconsider their choices. I am aware, though, that that video is not representative of the slaughtering techniques on many small and so-called humane turkey farms. So I found one that is.

The above footage represents what most humane agriculture proponents would consider a high welfare demise, a best instance scenario carnage that exhibits respect and care, with appropriate solemnity for the gravity of the deed. And while I have no doubt that the matter is turkey hen had a nice life( albeit a breathtakingly short one ), the quality of her life has zero bearing on the cruelty of her death, except to add betrayal of trust and affection to the list of injuries she suffers at the hands of her caregiver-turned-killer. I dont know whats worse: the near pathological indifference to suffering displayed by the humane farmer in the previous video, or the sham piety displayed by this farmer, and the fabricated narration of cosmic inevitability she imposes onto the turkeys slaughter in order to feel okay about it: They know this is what theyre here for, is this amazing feast, which is to say, Killing this turkey is something that had to be done, of course . Except, of course, that it didnt. It bears repeating: decades of scientific proof have irrefutably demonstrated that humans have no biological need to eat meat, milk or eggs. When we have plentiful access to plant-based foods, and a option between sparing life or taking it there is nothing remotely humane about inflicting violence and death on others just because we like the taste of their flesh and secretions.

Notice, too, the disingenuous maternal rhetoric: I love these turkeystheyre good babiesIll miss them a lot. This is humane-washing at its best, and willful self delusion at its worst. Watch the video, then answer me this: what kind of person would do that to any being they genuinely cared for and loved?

11. Compassion toward all animals doesnt have to be taught; it is only untaught.

Which lesson are you teaching your kids this Thanksgiving?

To honor their compassion ?

Or to destroy it ?

Please spread the word this season.

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