It’s shocking to me that 46 million turkeys are tortured and slaughtered each year for Thanksgiving alone. I wanted to share some facts about Turkeys to make you realize just how amazing these animals are and that they deserve to live this Thanksgiving and always.
Turkeys are sentient beings and are highly social, much like our cats and dogs. They have their own language and unique voices to communicate with each other. Wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph and run up to 25 mph. Mothers carry babies on their backs and form very strong bonds with them.
A male turkey’s head changes color from blue to red based on his emotion, while females have pink bumps on their heads that make them more attractive to other turkeys. They are naturally curious creatures and are born with full-color vision like humans. Turkeys have been known to recognize human faces and they love being pet and cuddled!
While most of us probably remember drawing turkeys in grade school that looked like this:
The Thanksgiving turkey on your plate probably looked more like this:
The turkeys that we eat are genetically engineered to produce more white meat (by consumer demand) so their feathers are actually white as well. Similarly, they are engineered to grow very fat very fast so they can be slaughtered as soon as possible, usually only at 12 weeks old. This results in their bodies being too large for their legs to support causing difficulties standing or walking. They’re raised inside a dark, crowded house or cage and only have 2.5-4 feet to themselves (including “free range”). Babies will have parts of their beaks and toes removed by machines without any pain relief, as to prevent them from pecking and kicking each other due to stress.
The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (which requires animals be insensible before slaughter) doesn’t actually apply to turkeys. Generally, they are electrified to render them unconscious though still alive. However some turkeys will pass this step and, while still alert, be hung upside down and have their throats slit, and if that doesn’t kill them, they will be dipped into boiling water that scalds their skin and removes their 5,000-6,000 feathers.
If these images disturb you, please leave turkeys off your plate this Thanksgiving and year-round, and share this information with as many people as you can. Please honor turkeys by spreading the message of kindness and compassion for animals. It’s up to us to be their voice.