The word “turkey” can bring up all sorts of wonderful images in people’s heads, from a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings to summer barbecues with turkey burgers. This kind of meat has become increasingly popular in recent years – and not just for the holidays. There are, however, some good reasons to give this meat a miss.
If you buy conventionally raised turkey, you are supporting a system of agriculture that you might not be comfortable with. Conventionally raised turkeys are brought up in overcrowded, dirty conditions and because of the high amounts of growth hormones that are used in their breeding, are not even able to move around or mate properly.
Turkey is not the healthy food that many people assume it to be and does not have the kind of lean protein that promotes a good cardiovascular system. A fully cooked turkey is high in both fat and cholesterol and if it is conventionally raised, there is a danger of it being contaminated with bacteria or agricultural chemicals.
Because conventional turkeys are given large amounts of growth hormones, they grown to unnatural sizes and this, combined with overcrowded conditions, can make turkey farms a breeding ground for diseases like the bird flu, which can contaminate your kitchen.
Because of the overcrowded, enclosed conditions of conventional agriculture, turkey farms and other similar operations produce high amounts of feces which can find their way into groundwater that is used by humans and also creates a horrible stench in the communities surrounding the farms.
Inhumane Living Conditions
The long communal sheds that turkeys are forced to live in mean that they are sitting in their own urine and feces and that there are so many turkeys around them, there is not even enough room to stretch their wings. These are not humane living conditions.
The slaughtering process for turkeys is also inhumane and often their throats are cut while they are still conscious. If the automated knife misses them, there is also a risk of being boiled to death in the de-feathering tank.
The government does not have the legal authority to recall animal products that have become contaminated – this is left to the authority of the meat and food industry itself, which has had many problems with effective recalls in the past.
High Use of Drugs
Turkeys are raised in high amounts of antibiotics and growth hormones in their systems; these drugs can be passed on to the consumer of turkey meat and cause problems such as the development of drug-resistant antibiotics due to overuse in the meat industry.
Turkey farms are not only dangerous for the turkeys but for the workers who are employed by them and who can be hurt or exposed to contaminants and not given personal protective equipment to help shield them from this.
Because of the problems with conventional turkey farming, consider the alternatives. Organic, free range turkey is one such alternative or serving an alternative meat or vegetarian options like tofurkey for the holidays this year. Either choice is both healthier and more humane and will allow you to enjoy the food without the worry!
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