Our family used to have turkey only twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas, with mum’s special sausage stuffing and a creamy, savoury gravy – having it so rarely made it extra special. As adults, we followed the same recipe and the same rules, and that made the Turkey Dinner the star of the show.
In fact, turkeys are very intelligent creatures with distinct personalities. They can fly at 55 miles per hour, run up to 35 miles per hour, and can live for up to 10 years under natural conditions. Like all animals, they are sentient, and can feel pain, fear and stress. Farmers have labelled them dumb, hence the sobriquet “turkey” is usually used to insult someone, inferring lower intelligence, but studies have shown they are misunderstood in that when they don’t do what the farmer wants they are labelled “stupid” or “unintelligent”.
Well if not listening to an abuser makes them “stupid” then I am in good company!
The turkey on the Christmas platter was more than likely raised in a dark battery with no space to move, crammed in with other broiler birds. He was fed hormones and gmo grains to plump him up to an unusually meaty size so we can have lots of white breast meat, which caused him to be unable to support his weight, leaving him lying in his own feces, being trampled on by other oversize birds. Because of their tight quarters, their beaks are cut off, along with a portion of their toes, and also males may have their fleshy snood cut off – all without benefit of anaesthesia.
This is meant to prevent them damaging each other while they are confined and grown to optimum size for slaughter. Within five short months a turkey can weight up to 40 lbs, due to genetic manipulation – 56 per cent larger than those produces in the 60s. This means, due to their gargantuan size, they are unable to perform like a normal turkey in the wild: they cannot fly, often cannot walk, and certainly can’t procreate. Hence, artificial insemination is used to get turkey babies.
This is not a pristine, hygienic procedure as we might imagine. Basically, females are held upside down, while someone shoves their hand with a tube or syringe into their vent and inseminates them. A worker in Missouri was quoted as saying, ” 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 breathing the dust stirred up by terrified birds.”
And once again, don’t think because you purchased ‘organic’ or ‘free range’ that your turkey was living in a meadow, frolicking and cavorting with the other barnyard buddies. Nope. All this means is the food was a little different and the shed they were kept in had no cages, just open floor, giving them a little more room to defecate on each other, step on each other, and breath in more ammonia fumes and dirt.
You may not realize, at the time of slaughter, most birds are suffering from … “painful respiratory diseases and eye disorders, 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, …” according to ezine Free From Harm.
And if this isn’t bad enough, Mercy for Animals reports animals also suffer from “workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds; birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses 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.”
Yes, folks, your turkey probably had some kind of viral lung infection, most likely some sort of skin infection filled with pus from the filth, was not treated, and then you ate it, seasoned with all those GMOs and a few kicks in the head.
After living this five months or so of abuse, they are shipped to the slaughterhouse, where they are dipped in an electric water bath and HOPEFULLY stunned enough so their throats can be more easily cut, and again HOPEFULLY after that, they are actually dead so that the boiling water they are next dumped in to remove their feathers easier doesn’t hurt them – because, you know – we want to kill them humanely. Often, however, they are not dead by the time they reach the boiling vats. It’s estimated more than 1 million turkeys are boiled alive each year.
So much for that humane death.
What does this tell you? Well I know what it tells me: We care more for rapists, pedophiles, and serial killers on death row, criminals who have committed egregious acts, in terms of humane death than we do for the innocent beings on this earth.
I’m including a link here which has a video of such a turkey facility, right here in Ontario. Hybrid Turkeys is the second largest producer of turkeys in the world – so chances are, yours came from there. In this plant, workers abused the turkeys in front of management, but when a hidden camera exposed the brutality, management was quoted as saying it was an isolated incident, and the workers were let go.
Don’t kid yourself. None of this is isolated or unusual, and it’s not limited to just turkeys and chickens. I urge you – no, I implore you – to watch the video, as horrific as it is, and then tell me you can eat your turkey on Christmas Day without a thought as to how it got there.
Hybrid Turkeys, Ontario – undercover video