For a period of eight weeks from December, 2013 to February, 2014, a Mercy For Animals Canada investigator worked in Bright, Ontario, at Hybrid Turkeys—a turkey factory farm owned by the second-largest turkey producer in the world. The investigator documented horrific cruelty to turkeys, including:
- workers punching, throwing, kicking, and beating turkeys
- workers crushing the spines of turkeys, and bashing in their heads with metal rods and shovels
- turkeys with open wounds, rotting eyes, and festering infections, left to suffer without proper veterinary care
- birds bred to grow so quickly they became crippled under their own weight
After reviewing the undercover footage, Dr. Ian Duncan, Canada's leading expert on poultry welfare, stated: "The euthanasia practices depicted in the video I saw were inhumane; they did not result in immediate unconsciousness. It is not appropriate to kick, punch, or swing birds. This is gratuitous cruelty."
Dr. Sara Shields agreed, concluding: "This is a horrific case of animal cruelty, which is clearly condoned by management."
HELP END THE TORTURE OF TURKEYS
Unfortunately, the lives of turkeys on factory farms are short, brutal and filled with fear, violence and prolonged suffering. While wild turkeys are sleek, agile and able to fly, commercial turkeys have been selectively bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.
This genetic manipulation creates birds who are so large they cannot even reproduce naturally, rendering artificial semen collection and insemination the sole means of turkey reproduction at breeding facilities like this one.
Even though domestic turkeys have been genetically manipulated for enormous growth, these birds still retain their gentle, inquisitive, and social natures.
Turkeys are "sentient vertebrates and all the available evidence shows that they have a very similar range of feelings as mammalian species,” Dr. Ian Duncan has stated. “Poultry can suffer by feeling pain, fear and stress."
In fact, animal behaviorists, veterinarians, and scientists now agree that turkeys are sensitive and intelligent animals with their own unique personalities, much like the dogs and cats we all know and love.
Although cruelty and violence are standard practice for Canada's turkey producers, caring consumers can help end the needless suffering of turkeys and other farmed animals by choosing a compassionate vegan diet.