Almost 50 million turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving. Wouldn’t it be better if we had a Thanksgiving the turkeys could be thankful for too? We think so. To help you have a Turkey Thankful Thanksgiving, we put together 10 reasons to skip the turkey this year.
- Turkeys form strong bonds with their flock mates and even with humans and other animals. However, turkeys are bred at rapid rates for human consumption and never get to experience love and freedom like she does. Commercial turkeys never get the opportunity to spread their wings, run around in the grass, or be treated kindly. These birds are forced to live in dark, overcrowded buildings where they are often mistreated and ultimately slaughtered.
- Turkeys are kept in poor conditions . Conditions inside factory farms are so cramped, stressful, and filthy that birds often succumb to stress or their injuries and die before reaching the kill floor. Infections are common since thousands of birds are packed into one common living space without proper care.
- Turkey meat recalls. Turkey meat product recalls are not uncommon. They spread bacteria because they are forced to live in their own excrement inside bacteria filled buildings. These conditions increase the transmission of bacterial infections, which in turn contaminate the turkey products that humans consume.
- Inhumane slaughter methods. Over 200 million turkeys are slaughtered each year in the United States, and 99 percent of them are raised on factory farms. Inside these farms, which are large industrialized buildings, up to 10,000 turkeys are crammed into a single barn. As if the psychological damage of being kept in a stressful environment is not enough, turkeys are slaughtered in horrific ways.
- Dismal working conditions on turkey farms. In industrial agriculture, expectations are high to work quickly. When production speeds are increased, animals are not the only ones who are injured. The physical and mental health of workers is often compromised. Being a slaughterhouse worker is considered by some to be the most dangerous job in America.
- Health risks of eating turkey. We have been writing about the dangers of consuming meat but somehow turkey is still considered a “healthy choice.” It’s not a healthy choice.
- Turkeys are loving mothers. Turkeys form immediate bonds with their young, much like humans. Once their eggs are soon to be hatched, mother turkeys will not leave the nest under any circumstances. When the babies are born, turkey moms keep them close by under their wings until they are old enough to forage on their own.
- Turkey production is bad for the environment. Turkey farms, like other factory farms, produce a lot of pollution including water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
- It’s a hungry world. Turkeys, like other farm animals, are food factories in reverse. The return only a fraction of the protein and calories fed to them as meat. Many people in the world have food insecurity. We can waste food by feeding them to animals.
- Delicious Turkey Alternatives ARE Great. Plant-based turkey alternatives have grown over the past few years. Plant-based turkey brands like Tofurky, Gardein, Quorn, and Field Roast can be found in many grocery stores.
While a lot of attention is given to other farm animals such as cows, pigs and chickens, turkeys are often left out. Yet we raise 270 million turkeys each year. It’s great to skip the turkey for Thanksgiving. Even better would be to skip the turkey year round. Let’s make this Thanksgiving a new beginning for skipping eating turkey year round.