4 Nasty Things Your Holiday Turkey has Experienced (You are Affected, too)


turkey(NaturalSociety.com) Eating organic, free-range meat from grass-fed animals can be beneficial for your health, but in most cases, the meat people consume comes from unhealthy, abused animals. This is no different with this season’s holiday turkey, which has gone through more than most people would guess – including animal cruelty and a force-feeding of antibiotics. So, before you sit down and dig into that bird, here are just a few reminders of what that turkey went through to end up on your plate.

Butterball is a leading producer of turkeys in the US. As a matter of fact, they account for about 20% of all turkeys found on Thanksgiving tables. But it was only a year ago that workers at a Butterball plant in North Carolina were caught abusing the animals (1)—kicking them, throwing them around, and dragging them. The cruelty was so apparent that some workers faced criminal charges for the animal abuse.

Just like other modern meat industries, turkey production is focused on churning out the most “products” for the least amount of money. Because of this, the conditions are overcrowded and certainly not humane.

Drugs and hormones (2,3) are used to make the turkeys bigger with less feed. Rapidly-growing birds are at risk of suffering an aortic rupture which results in sudden death. This is caused by rapid growth and an overabundance of hormones, which can also lead to hypertensive angiopathy, and pulmonary edema.

Big Pharma company Merck says there is “no known treatment” for this and other rapid-growth related illnesses. But they say it could be prevented by slowing the growth of the animals. Looking at the modern production model and the hunger that these corporations have for profits, we know these deaths are seen as collateral damage and they won’t likely slow things down anytime soon.

These same growth issues can result in leg weakness or paralysis. Slaughterhouses routinely receive turkeys with broken legs or limps. This is largely caused because of rapid growth and weak bones only worsened by the method of poultry production.

Finally, veterinary journals report these birds arrive to slaughter with lesions, deviated toes, breast blisters, dermatitis, swelling, blisters, Clostridial dermatitis, and cellulitis (4). These conditions, and more, are caused by: “overcrowding, aggressive birds, poor-wet litter, decreased down time, a contaminated environment including feed and water, poor hygienic conditions, and contaminated vaccines and vaccine equipment.”

Chances are that the turkey on your holiday table didn’t come from idyllic farm, where he spent his life pecking seeds or roaming around the pasture. Instead, it’s been a dark and disgusting life, perpetuated by our demand for fatter birds.