The lives of turkeys in Butterball's factory farms are short, brutal, and filled with fear, violence, and constant suffering. While wild turkeys are sleek, agile, and able to fly, Butterball's turkeys have been selectively bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.
Even though domestic turkeys have been genetically manipulated for enormous growth, these birds still retain their gentle, inquisitive, and social natures. Oregon State University poultry scientist Dr. Tom Savage says that turkeys are “smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings.”
In fact, animal behaviorists, veterinarians, and scientists agree that turkeys are sensitive and intelligent animals with their own unique personalities, much like the dogs and cats we all know and love.
As the world's largest producer of turkey meat, Butterball is responsible for 20 percent of the 252 million turkeys raised and killed for food each year in the United States, and 30 percent of the 46 million turkeys who are killed for Thanksgiving.
While MFA works to expose and end animal abuse at Butterball and other giants of the meat, dairy, and egg industries, consumers can help prevent the needless suffering of turkeys and other animals by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.
Mercy For Animals’ 2014 investigation at a Butterball turkey hatchery exposed sickening cruelty to animals, including:
Another undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals at multiple Butterball factory farms showed that animal abuse continued to run rampant. The investigation exposed:
In 2011, an MFA undercover investigator documented a pattern of shocking abuse and neglect at a Butterball turkey semen collection facility in Shannon, North Carolina. Hidden-camera footage taken at this Butterball factory farm revealed: