Benjamin Franklin, who considered the turkey to be “more respectable” than the eagle, argued the turkey should be the treasured national bird. Somewhere down the line, the turkey took a fall in many American minds to become nothing but a standard meal. Over 280 million turkeys are killed each year for humans in the U.S. alone. Factory farms have altered domestic turkeys so much to meet consumer demand, that many people don’t even connect them with their wild cousins.
Myth: Turkeys are so dumb they look up in the rain and drown.
The rumor that turkeys are so dumb they will look up in the rain and drown is false. Contrary to common belief, animal researchers say turkeys are both intelligent and sociable animals. According to Farm Sanctuary, people tend to justify eating food-animals by saying they are dumb, and therefore less worthy of compassion.
Myth: Turkeys are too dumb to know how to reproduce on their own.
To meet the large consumer demand, commercial turkeys have been bred to be twice the size of what they would be in the wild. According to United Poultry Concerns, “If a 7-pound human baby grew as fast as baby turkeys are forced to grow, the human baby would weight 1500 pounds at 18 weeks old.” Because of their unnatural size, factory-farmed turkeys physically cannot reproduce naturally, so the industry relies on artificial insemination.
Myth: Turkeys can’t feel pain.
Turkeys raised in factory farms endure painful toe and beak mutilations. Since they typically live in an area that’s less than 3-square-feet, they endure psychological stress that leads them to attack other turkeys. To deter damage to other birds, their beaks and toes are burned off without anesthetic. In the wild, turkeys are social and nurturing beings.
Next: 3 ways to help a turkey
Ways to Help a Turkey
1. Sponsor a turkey! Donate 30 dollars to Farm Sanctuary and you can get a certificate with a picture and details about a turkey you helped save.
2. Have a bird-free Thanksgiving! There are so many delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes out there. Here are some to get you started:
3. If you have the space, adopt a turkey. Fill out this application and provide a loving home for a turkey.
Start a new tradition this Thanksgiving and make a turkey friend.