This is Thyme – one of the turkeys I adopted from Farm Sanctuary this year.  She is one lucky turkey.  She was rescued from a factory farm and is living the life of a happy turkey.

Now I want to tell you about the other 98% of turkeys in this country who are being raised for meat.  That clean, sanitized and wrapped turkey you purchase in the grocery store or order from a smoking facility has not had a good life.  If you have even a tiny sympathetic bone in your body, maybe this information will get you to think again about what you are eating.

Look at this sweet baby turkey, called a poult, who is being humanely cared for.  Others like him are not so lucky as they are probably in our factory farming system.  Those poults are put onto a sorting machine right after hatching from their shells.  The machines are supposed to sort the live turkey babies from the shells.  However, in the process many of those tiny babies get caught in the machinery or accidentally get pushed out with the shells.  Those poults who are injured plus the ones accidentally knocked into the trash are bagged up in plastic bags and dumped into trash cans while gasping for air as they are slowly suffocating.

The little birds that make it through the sorting process are then grabbed off the conveyor belt by a human hand that cuts off the tips of his toes before he is grabbed by a second human who cuts off the tip of his upper beak

Scared, tired and hurting these little turkey babies are then put into their new home to live with 25,000 other scared, hurting poults.  If they are "lucky" enough to live in a free-range factory, there is a window in the warehouse that lets in some natural light.

As these turkeys grow and get fat, there is not even enough room for them to turn around.  If they get hurt or sick they just fall in their place and slowly die.  Once or twice a week humans come through and pull out the sick and dying birds and drop them in their big plastic trash bags. 

These turkeys are fed food laced with antibiotics to prevent some of the infections that can be caused by living in such close contact.  They must stand in their own feces and urine which makes the smell of ammonia overwhelming.

Turkeys in the wild can live 10 – 15 years.  These factory farmed turkeys are taken to slaughter houses by the time they are two-years-old.  They are grabbed by those human hands again and thrown into crowded wire cages which are then loaded on a flat-bed truck.  Frightened, they are totally exposed to the wind and the weather on their drive.

At the slaughterhouse these turkeys are grabbed out of their cages and tied up by their legs on another conveyor belt.  They are fully conscious as their throats are slashed.

Did you know that animal cruelty laws do not apply to farm animals?  The agri-business lobby has successfully pled their case with lawmakers that these animals are only products and not animals who can feel. 

What can you do to help with this sad situation?

• Stop eating turkeys.
• Let your senators and representatives know that you want this cruelty stopped.
• Support animal rights organizations such as Farm Sanctuary or The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary instead of buying a turkey for your holiday dining.
• Get more information by reading books such as Diet for a New America, The Lucky Ones and Farm Sanctuary.