Every day, people consume meat products without a second thought, pushing out of their minds the terrible treatment that these animals endure. As Thanksgiving approaches, this leads us to the turkey industry.
Every single year in the United States alone, 245 MILLION turkeys (think of the reality of that number) are killed for their flesh for Americans to eat. With no federal protection, these turkeys spend practically their entire life on factory farms before they are killed for Thanksgiving feasts. They never feel the warmth of a nest after they are born, since they are hatched in incubators without ever even seeing their mothers. After a few weeks of being alive, they are moved into “filthy, windowless sheds with thousands of other turkeys, where they’ll spend the rest of their lives,” according to PETA.
Parts of their toes and beaks are cut off, as well as the males’ snoods, without any pain relievers, in order to stop the birds from fighting and killing each other in these cramped and stressful living conditions. Imagine have the skin under your chin cut off with a scissor….
There are also many turkeys that don’t even make it past the first few weeks of life, since they begin to starve themselves out of stress while they are young due to these terrible conditions that no animal could live a healthy life in.
“Turkeys are bred, drugged, and genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible to increase profits.” Turkeys are now so obese, averaging around 30 pounds compared to 17 pounds in 1960, causing many of them to become crippled due to their unnaturally large size. These turkeys are not able to reproduce naturally due to their size, leading to a majority of birds to be conceived through artificial insemination. They also die from organ failure or heart attacks before even reaching 6 months of age. According to an investigative report in the Wall Street Journal on the miserable conditions on turkey farms, “It’s common in a rearing house to find a dead bird surrounded by four others whose hearts failed after they watched the first one ‘fall back and go into convulsions, with its wings flapping wildly.’”
When these animals are not forced to live under these conditions, they are able to care for their young, build nests, forage for food, take dust bath, and many other things turkeys in the wild enjoy to do. They like to chirp along to their favorite tunes and live their happy little turkey lives. Why take this from them for one meal?
And if that doesn’t sell you, there’s been a salmonella outbreak in raw turkeys this year, which “has sickened at least 164 people in 35 states during the past year. As of Nov. 5, the bacterial strain has led to 63 hospitalizations and, in California, one death,” as stated by PBS.
So, again, I’ll pass.
It’s time to rethink your Thanksgiving dinner choices. Fill your plate with yummy vegetables and even turkey alternatives! The opportunities are endless. Here’s some recipes to get you started.