As the cofounder and director of Animal Place, a sanctuary for rescued farm animals, it saddens me that people still eat turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. The turkeys living at Animal Place are social, smart and curious birds. When visitors come out for farm tours they are often amazed that they are greeted and escorted by the turkeys!
They have a wide repertoire of sounds – from the soft soothing cooing sounds to their gobbling greetings they are known for. When the wild turkeys who live around the sanctuary talk, the domestic turkeys call back to them.
It is heartbreaking to see how badly the birds have been abused on factory farms. They spend five-to-six months in dark, crowded sheds with tens of thousands of other birds. Flapping even one wing is practically impossible. The first digit of their toes and part of their beaks are cut off without anesthetics. They are bred to grow quickly; they are slaughtered at 18 weeks old, weighing 28 pounds. Many we rescue arrive at Animal Place crippled and we frequently have to euthanize young turkeys whose legs have collapsed under them.
This holiday season how about giving up the bird – even for just one meal. Your action will make this world a little more humane – and we can certainly use that right now. To find out more, and learn how you can help turkeys and other abused animals, please visit www.animalplace.org.
Director, Animal Place