Written by Stephen Cavallaro
The life of a Butterball turkey is simply a series of torment and agony.
As you take your place at the dinner table to gorge yourself with over-processed brutality, do you take a moment to realize the crusade faced by the creature that lays before you?
In the words of former Indian nationalist, Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
One of the nation’s most succulent and popular frozen turkey brands has yet again faced animal cruelty charges.
Since late 2011 the animal rights organization Mercy for Animals has performed an investigation at a North Carolina Butterball, LLC facility.
The investigation led to the conviction of two former Butterball employees in 2012 and two other employees earlier this month. The vagrants were charged with felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty as a result of their violent actions towards innocent turkeys.
While Butterball claims that the ethical treatment and prosperity of their livestock is essential to the business, Mercy for Animals believes that the path of convictions proves that these turkeys are forced to endure horrific conditions and deplorable treatment. Mercy for Animals has since revealed disturbing footage of Butterball’s tyranny.
In fact, Butterball has spent numerous years engineering turkeys to ensure they live five-month miserable lives. Factory-farm-bred birds have been artificially selected to grow obnoxiously large at astoundingly fast rates, thereby, resulting in bone defects, flightlessness and heart problems. Contemporary turkeys bear brittle beaks and feathers with fine, almost translucent shafts.
Traditionally, turkeys are powerful and vibrant creatures with personalities and intellect comparable to domestic cats and dogs. They also possess the ability to live up to 10 productive years.
Selectively breeding turkeys began in the 1950s to appeal to a naively greedy society bent on perfection and having the income necessary to sustain such desires. Today, according to the 2010 Census, over 244 million turkeys are produced per year to meet consumer demand.
And who is the top producer of poultry in the United States? Georgia. While Butterball remains a leader in mass producing turkeys, with most turkey production occurring in North Carolina, the Census Bureau and Department of Agriculture have both declared Georgia the top producer of poultry in the United States.
Georgia supports an enormous and infamous chicken, or broiler, production. In fact, most factory farms are scattered across the South, with some residing in South Georgia and North Florida.
Chickens often face a similar fate to turkey, and as students bent on founding a world of civility, we cannot allow such harrowing activity to progress.
We must aid organizations such as Georgians for Pastured Poultry in the fight against these injustices. GPP works to inform people about both alternatives to factory-farm poultry and the suffering such birds endure. The key is to demand a fair option—choosing to purchase and consume pasture-raised poultry, hence bringing about better awareness for birds’ welfare in Georgia and across the nation.