Skip to Main Content

Top 10 Reasons Not to Eat Turkeys

Pardon me, pilgrim! This Thanksgiving, how about ditching the dead bird? These beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent birds endure lives of suffering and painful deaths. Here are 10 good reasons to carve out a new tradition by flocking to vegetarian entrées, along with some scrumptious holiday cooking tips and recipes—thankfully, none of them require stuffing food up anyone’s behind.

1. They’re Begging Your Pardon
Turkeys are “smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings,” Oregon State University poultry scientist Tom Savage says. Turkeys are social, playful birds who enjoy the company of others. They relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck, and gobble along to their favorite tunes. Anyone who spends time with them at farm sanctuaries quickly learns that turkeys are as varied in personality as dogs and cats. The president “pardons” a turkey every year—can’t you pardon one too? Learn more about turkeys.

2. Get Rid of Your Wattle
Turkey flesh is brimming with fat. Just one homemade patty of ground, cooked turkey meat contains a whopping 244 mg of cholesterol, and half of its calories come from fat. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are. Learn more about animal products and your health.

3. Can You Spell ‘Pandemic’?
Experts are warning that a virulent new strain of bird flu could spread to human beings and kill millions of Americans. Current factory-farm conditions, in which turkeys are drugged up and bred to grow so quickly they can barely walk, are a prescription for disease outbreaks. Eating a turkey carcass contaminated with bird flu could kill you, and currently available drugs might not work. Cooking should kill the virus, but it could be left behind on cutting boards and utensils and spread through something else you’re eating. Learn more about bird flu.

4. Recall Process Doesn’t Fly
The U.S. government is the only government in the Western world that does not have the power to recall contaminated animal products. Instead, American consumers must trust the profit-hungry meat, dairy, and egg industries to decide when recalls are necessary. Dan Glickman, secretary of agriculture under President Bill Clinton, explained that this limit on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) power to protect consumers from tainted animal products is “one of the biggest loopholes out there.” There are all sorts of killer bacteria found in turkey flesh, including salmonella and campylobacter. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 28 percent of fresh turkeys were contaminated with bacteria, primarily with campylobacter, for which the USDA does not even require testing. Learn more about meat contamination.

5. Let the Turkeys Give Thanks!
Let’s face it: If you’re eating a turkey, that’s a corpse you’ve got there on the table, and if you don’t eat it quickly enough, it will decompose. Is that really what we want as the centerpiece of a holiday meal: an animal’s dead and decaying carcass? Thanksgiving is a time to take stock of our lives and give thanks for all that we have, so why not let the turkeys give thanks too? Learn more about what happens to turkeys on factory farms.

6. Want Stuffing With Your Supergerms?
Dosing turkeys with antibiotics to stimulate their growth and to keep them alive in filthy, disease-ridden conditions that would otherwise kill them poses even more risks for people who eat them. Leading health organizations—including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association—have warned that by giving powerful drugs (via animal products) to humans who are not sick, the farmed-animal industry is creating possible long-term risks to human health and will spread antibiotic-resistant supergerms. That’s why the use of drugs to promote growth in animals used for food has been banned for many years in Europe.

7. Without a Wing and a Prayer
On factory farms, turkeys live for months in sheds where they are packed so tightly that flapping a wing or stretching a leg is nearly impossible. They stand in waste, and urine and ammonia fumes burn their eyes and lungs. At the slaughterhouse, turkeys have their throats slit while they are still conscious. Those who miss the automated knife are scalded to death in the defeathering tank. Learn more about the cruelty endured by turkeys.

8. Foul Farming
Anyone who has driven by a farm has probably smelled it first from a mile away. Turkeys and other animals raised for food produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire U.S. human population—all without the benefit of waste treatment systems. There are no federal guidelines to regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of concentrated, untreated animal excrement that they produce each year. Learn more about how factory farming damages the environment.

9. Blood, Sweat, and Fear
Killing animals is inherently dangerous work, but the fast line speeds, the dirty, slippery killing floors, and the lack of training make animal-processing plants some of the most dangerous places to work in America today. The industry has refused to slow down the lines or buy appropriate safety gear because these changes could cut into companies’ bottom lines. In its 185-page exposé on worker exploitation by the farmed-animal industry, “Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants,” Human Rights Watch explains, ‘These are not occasional lapses by employers paying insufficient attention to modern human resources management policies. These are systematic human rights violations embedded in meat and poultry industry employment.”

10. A Cornucopia of Turkey Alternatives
Give up the giblets and carve out a new tradition this Thanksgiving—Tofurky Roast, a savory soy- and wheat-based roasts with stuffing and gravy or oven-roasted, peppered, hickory-smoked, or cranberry- and stuffing-flavored Tofurky Deli Slices. Give animals and yourself something to be really thankful for this year: Order a free vegetarian starter kit full of tasty recipes and celebrity features today!

Related Posts

Respond
Commenting is closed.
  • My Words says:

    So animals are killed in sloter houses every day. Chickens are shoved into cages and people wait until they die then they packege them. And horses are dumped and killed every day. So are you going to let then die if you don’t all the animals in the world are going to die. So are you a vegan or a canable eat right don’t eat animals.

  • Sera says:

    With due respect, I’d like to point out that the one reason a lot of vegetarians are perfectly okay with eating plants and drinking milk is because we know we aren’t hurting anyone. Until such time as someone conclusively proves that plants can feel pain ( results have so far shown that they cannot), we will continue eating them. If a pain response system is discovered, us true vegetarians will get our nutrition from other, non- painful- to- other- creatures sources. Vegetarianism has evolved from meaning plant-eater to environmentally sensitised nature lover.

  • zaretta says:

    I recently got to know some rescued turkeys and was astounded at their curiosity and friendliness. They would position themselves at the center of a group of people and lap up the attention and closely investigate anything of interest to them like mobile phones and sunglasses. If you were doing anything with your hands such as tying shoelaces they would put thier faces within a few inches of it to watch intently. They were also very quick to greet anyone new and would sit with eyes closed to be patted. What shocked me was their feet, the farmer had cut off their toes near the first knuckle to stop their claws growing, I don’t know how they survived the pain. Sadly most of the turkeys did not live long because they grew too heavy for their hearts, lungs and bones because of their genetic modifications but they enjoyed their short time in a good home

  • stp479 says:

    And so the baconeatingjew is number six? If you haven’t a good thing to say then say nothing at all.

  • Alan says:

    We need more labling of NON-GMO soy products so that we can
    avoid the GMO soy products. Is Tofurky NON-GMO?

  • Wally says:

    Guys wake up! Millions of animals (insects, birds and rodents) are sprayed to prevent them to destroy the crops, are you going to stop eating wheat or rice because that? Besides, veggies are alive too, what are you going to eat then? Humans are not veggies or carnivores, we are omnivores and need veggies and flesh. Someone must die so others may live.

  • Terry Carlo says:

    Judging by your comment you must be the 6TH “MOST STUPID ANIMAL IN THE WHOLE WORLD.”

  • walt says:

    I love Turkey. It is a healthy meat compared to GMO plants with pesticides and E-Coli and brain eating worms.
    Meats would be fine if it weren’t for the hormones and chemicals.
    A balanced diet is just fine. Ask my 100 year old meat eating grandmother.

  • Knuckleheddd says:

    To baconeatingjew: And this was determined using the WAIS or Stanford-Binet? Interesting statement, impossible to support.

  • Mel says:

    Proud vegetarian for 17 years. I am thankful at Thanksgiving. Animals are smarter than a lot of humans. God bless the turkeys and God’s other beautiful live creatures. RIP the poor sacrifices for human benefit. I will thankfully be going to a job I love this Thanksgiving and leaving the turkeys alone.

  • Michele Stipe says:

    You know I don’t understand how anybody could kill let alone eat these Turkeys. This is so disgusting! And yet these are most likely the same people who sit around waiting for that turkey to be finish and say they love animals. Yeah Right!

  • Imran Alam says:

    Good article. In response to False Positive: what are you on about? Learn some form of rudimentary grammar before putting pen to paper.

  • Jagdish Mittal says:

    All the reasons given for avoiding meat of Turkey are very sound.Therefore we should not eat this meat.

Connect With PETA

Submit