Turkeys

Turkeys
Form strong bonds

Turkeys are very intelligent and playful birds who have their own unique personalities. Turkeys form strong social bonds and are even capable of recognizing each other by voice. They are quite adventurous birds and love to explore and investigate their surroundings.¹

Many turkeys greatly enjoy being pet and cuddled by humans and can form strong bonds with humans. They are even capable of recognizing humans and distinguishing human faces.¹

In the US, over 235 million turkeys are killed every year – around 46 million of those turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone.² These turkeys live very short lives trapped inside crammed warehouses where they may never even feel the sunlight on their skin.

The Facts
About Turkeys Used for Their Flesh

The average turkey raised on a factory farm will be debeaked and have their toes removed to prevent them from harming each other due to being crammed together in such large numbers. This process is done without any anesthetic and has been shown to cause the birds long-term chronic pain.³

The turkeys are crowded into sheds with up to 25,000 other turkeys. The large amount of feces on the floor creates ammonia build-up, which causes ammonia burns on the turkeys’ feet and bodies.³ The sheds are commonly windowless and have low lighting to prevent fighting. Despite this, many turkeys are driven to aggressive behavior due to the overcrowding, and will peck at each other, often causing injury. Around 5 to 15 percent of turkeys die just from the conditions in these sheds. Some of them die from disease or injury, while others may die from being unable to get to food or water due to the crowding.

Because they have been bred to grow so large so quickly, most turkeys are forcefully loaded into crates and transported to slaughterhouses by time they are 16 – 24 weeks old.4 Transport can be very stressful for turkeys and can last over a day. During this time, they are not given any food or water and are subjected to any extreme temperatures or weather conditions. Many turkeys do not make it through transport.4

When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, turkeys are shackled upside down by their legs on a conveyor belt that drags them through electrified water to stun them. They then pass by an automated blade that slits their throat, killing them.4 Unfortunately, many turkeys are not properly stunned due to the speed at which they are killed, and they end up being conscious when their throat is slit. Next, the turkeys are put in a scald tank, where scalding hot water removes their feathers. The turkeys who are not stunned properly have to then experience the pain of being boiled alive.4

Sources

  1. https://animaloutlook.org/personality-turkeys/
  2. https://www.countinganimals.com/how-many-turkeys-do-we-kill-for-thanksgiving/
  3. https://www.viva.org.uk/resources/campaign-materials/fact-sheets/viva-turkey-fact-sheet
  4. https://foodispower.org/animals-on-land/turkeys/

How
You can help

The best way to stop this kind of treatment is to switch to a plant-based diet. There are so many amazing plant-based alternatives to turkey that you can enjoy without any of the cruelty.

Here are some resources to help you get started:

Interested in learning more?

Learn about other animals that are exploited for food. 

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