My body shuttered when I saw the massive supermarket freezer on display packed with dead turkeys. While I know it’s the eve of Thanksgiving, it was still a jarring sight. After a short life of misery and suffering, 48 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year. Smart and playful birds, turkeys are curious, sensitive and affectionate. They socialize and even recognize each other, purring like cats when content. They’re forced to live in filthy and unhealthy windowless sheds and are not able to express their natural behavior like flapping their wings, roosting, nesting or bathing.
Their beaks and toes are painfully cut off without anesthesia. As their excrement accumulates in the sheds, they live, eat and breathe in harmful air filled with ammonia, dust and fungal spores that cause skin irritations and foot infections. Farmers are encouraged to grow turkeys to unnaturally large sizes that often render the birds unable to stand or cause other painful and deadly conditions, including heart disease. Their abnormal size creates breeding problems so the female birds are hung upside down and forcefully inseminated artificially during a violent and fearful “process” (rape).
Turkeys are usually only 5 months old when slaughtered. There are no laws mandating that they be unconscious before being killed. Although some are stunned first by an electric water bath, many are still conscious when they are burned, drowned alive or get their throat slit. Most other traditional Thanksgiving foods are plant based so there’s plenty to feast on, but please leave these animals off your plate. – Rick