Turkey Troubles on the day of Turkeys

It’s no question that Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday throughout America. However, many citizens don’t know the sinister undertones that occur around this festive day of feasting.  In order to cater to the hungry mouths of families across America, some farms partake in unsavory methods to fatten and mass produce their turkeys. This mistreatment of turkeys has been going on for too long, and it’s time that the public is made aware of this issue. 

On Thanksgiving day, America consume about 46 million turkeys and many don’t think about where that turkey came from.  First off, poultry is kept off the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. This allows farms to do whatever is necessary to meet the holiday demands.  One step of the process is that farmers will fatten their turkeys to unnatural levels. This causes the turkeys much pain because when they get too fat they lose their ability to walk. Big farms like Hargin Inc. should model themselves after farms like Tendercrop in Newbury.  Tendercrop prides themselves on the treatment of their turkeys and say that, “Our animals are free range and we think they live the best life for an animal being raised for consumption.”  

Not only are some turkeys artificially fattened – they are treated with blatant disrespect. Big farms, such as Willmar Poultry, pack their turkeys so closely together that their beaks need to be cut off to prevent pecking. Hagrin Inc. has been said to pack their female turkeys in filthy sheds, along with having tubes shoved in their bodies. These turkeys then get sick from these processes, which unfortunately means that humans sometimes consume diseased meat. Luckily, the Humane Society is hoping to have reform by 2024, so poultry can finally have regulations. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, as factory farming is still growing in popularity because of the increasing population of the US. 

To elaborate on the lack of consumer knowledge of treatment of turkeys, we asked a local sophomore some questions regarding the article. The student’s response to the question, “How do you think turkeys are treated around the holidays?” was quite insightful. He states animals are comparable to people who are morbidly obese. “The only difference is these animals experience more pain in more numbers than the people on T.V.”   This student does have quite a bit of insight on the topic but he didn’t realize that poultry has been left off the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. He went on to describe this as “unjustified.” When asked about possible solutions his answer was plain and simple. “They should receive the same standards of treatment as cows and pigs do.”  This seems pretty simple in theory but large corporations like Hargin Inc. seem to ignore the fact that turkeys need to be treated just as well as the other animals.  Lastly the student added that he might continue to eat poultry depending on he is. For example, if his parents were to serve turkey at home he would eat it because “If I don’t eat it then it’s a waste.”  But he also added that if he was eating at a restaurant he would probably “order something that’s not poultry.” 

Thanksgiving is, and always will be a beloved holiday for Americans, and there’s no problem with that. One can still buy their turkey or other poultry products and enjoy a wonderful feast. However, it’s important that people understand there are consequences to purchasing from certain companies – especially factory farms. The more money going towards these companies will only increase the supply and demand for turkeys. Who knows what these companies would do to increase turkey production even more. So next Thanksgiving, when visiting the supermarket, take a quick look at the company that prepared the turkey. You never know what atrocities that turkey may have experienced.