The American animal protection organisation Mercy For Animals has released an undercover investigation of two turkey factories in Minnesota, US, which is the state that produces more turkeys, exposing the routine cruelty that turkeys endure in the meat industry. 

The investigator’s footage documented the following: turkeys raised in unnatural conditions, crammed by the thousands into windowless warehouses; baby turkeys left in piles, some struggling to breathe as they lie trapped under the dead; turkeys with painful eye infections, leg or wing injuries, head bruising, slashes to their skin, and bleeding wounds denied veterinary care; baby birds left on their backs, unable to right themselves (“flip-overs”) or dying of apparent sudden cardiac arrest (“round heart”); chicks caught in electrical wires placed where they instinctively try to perch, some electrocuted or suffering burns on their heads and feet; birds shoved and kicked onto conveyor belts that load them into trucks headed to the slaughterhouse, roughly grabbed by the wings and hurled inside when they fall off the belts.

AJ Albrecht, managing director of Mercy For Animals in the United States and Canada, said, “Everything the investigator filmed would likely be considered standard practice in the industry; this is not a matter of a single factory farm operating poorly but a matter of systemic acceptance of blatant animal cruelty. If consumers are disturbed by what they see in this investigation, they should spare a turkey by enjoying plant-based foods this and every holiday season.”

Walter Sanchez-Suarez, an animal behaviour and welfare scientist at Mercy For Animals, said, “The majority of the millions of turkeys raised in the United States each year experience very poor welfare throughout their shortened lives. Bred for rapid growth, these animals are prone to serious health problems. They are typically farmed in intensive systems that disregard their behavioural needs for the sake of increased profits.”

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.