by Matt Reimels
Thanksgiving has passed and that means most American families prepared at least one turkey and enjoyed it thoroughly. Although most American mothers and fathers know how to properly prepare a turkey, not many know how turkeys are prepared before they are in grocery stores.
Over 300 million turkeys are killed for food each year here in the US. This number would never be achieved in nature from simply hunting turkeys. Therefore, turkeys are bred on a massive scale to provide us with enough gobbling birds to last the holidays. PETA provides more information about turkey breeding on their website.
Turkey breeding farms have a very specific process for hatching, growing and killing their product to maximize turkey production. At these farms, the turkeys are seen simply as food and are not given any amount of rights despite being living animals.
PETA’s website details that the first step of the process is hatching a massive amount of eggs from turkeys that have only one purpose: to lay as many eggs as possible nonstop. The chicks that are hatched are kept in incubation tanks which are heated and have little room inside.
Once the chicks have grown, they are transported to sheds that house thousands of adult turkeys. These sheds are where the turkeys are given the misfortune of having to spend the rest of their days there. During their time there, their beaks and toes are cut off so the they will not injure or kill each other. This is done with a crude tool and a lack of any sort of preparation for the turkeys, so they feel massive amounts of pain when this is done. More information about the process of turkey control can be found at peta.org.
Chris Reimels, a local college student, stated “I knew turkeys are killed systematically, but I thought the process was relatively painless.”
The turkeys spend their entire lives being drugged to maximize their size. In the past 50 years, the average turkey weight has almost doubled thanks to this new process. Due to their unnatural weight gain, a lot of turkeys have trouble moving or even standing. This information was found on peta.org.
Senior Leo Charlebois said, “I love turkey. It helps with my gains, but I don’t know how I feel about eating it after hearing about how they are killed.”
It only takes about half a year for these turkeys to be declared “fully grown.” However they would never be as large as they are in the farms than they would in nature due to the drugs they take.Once they are, they are sent to the slaughterhouse to be killed. When they first arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside down on a moving belt. This belt takes them to a tank that dunks their heads in electrified water and then slits their throats. They then are dunked in scalding hot water to remove their feathers. However, at this point many turkeys are not yet stunned or killed so they are killed by the hot water. Information about this process can be found on peta.org.
Once this process is over, the turkeys are packed up and sent to your local grocery stores for the holidays.