Moral Low Ground

Our Earth

Of Turkeys and Torture

This Thanksgiving, Moral Low Ground is saying “no” to turkey dinner. Most Americans have no idea of the constant unspeakable horror that defines the life of factory-farmed birds. Many don’t care. All they see is a delicious looking, (artificially) plumped bird tidily wrapped in plastic on their supermarket shelf. But this belies the awful truth. The animal rights group People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals describes the life of a factory-farmed turkey:

“Turkeys raised on factory farms are hatched in large incubators and never see their mothers or feel the warmth of a nest. When they are only a few weeks old, they are moved into filthy, windowless sheds with thousands of other turkeys, where they will spend the rest of their lives.

To keep the birds from killing one another in such stressful, crowded conditions, parts of the turkeys’ toes and beaks are cut off, as are the males’ snoods. (The snood is the flap of skin under the chin.) All this is done without any pain relievers. Imagine having the skin under your chin chopped off with a pair of scissors.

Millions of turkeys don’t even make it past the first few weeks of life in a factory farm before succumbing to “starve-out,” a stress-induced condition that causes young birds to simply stop eating.

Turkeys are bred, drugged, and genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible as quickly as possible to increase profits. In 1970, the average live turkey raised for meat weighed 17 pounds. Today, he or she weighs 28 pounds. According to one industry publication, modern turkeys grow so quickly that if a 7-pound human baby grew at the same rate, the infant would weigh 1,500 pounds at just 18 weeks of age. Turkeys are now so obese that they cannot reproduce naturally; instead, all the turkeys who are born in the United States today on factory farms are conceived through artificial insemination.

Their unnaturally large size also causes many turkeys to die from organ failure or heart attacks before they are even 6 months old. 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.'”

Here is a highly educational if extremely graphic video from the animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary:

And an undercover investigation conducted by PETA:

Benjamin Franklin was so fond of the turkey that he wanted to make it our national bird. They are curious, social, friendly and have individual personalities. Yet each year some 300,000,000 of them are slaughtered for human consumption in the United States alone after living squalid lives of unspeakable cruelty. You don’t have to be a part of this crime against nature.  Won’t you please join Moral Low Ground as we strike turkey from our Thanksgiving dinner menu?

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One Comment

  1. FranziskaNovember 25, 2010 at 10:49 pmReply

    Thank you MLG for again raising awereness when looking away would be the more comfortble option on this very day. When I read this article, I was wondering if this is really how people want to thank nature for its giving? Turkeys deserve better than that!

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