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Animal Defenders International

Behind the Scenes of Christmas Turkey Production

. Updated: 22 July 2010

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50,000 slaughtered everyday at one factory alone; What a way to celebrate peace on earth..

In December 2000, we released the shocking findings of an undercover investigation into the Christmas turkey industry:-

  • Tens of thousands of birds crammed inside dark windowless sheds;
  • Birds having their throats cut from the inside, through the mouth;
  • A worker dancing whilst holding a live, conscious turkey suspended by the legs;
  • Turkeys cowering and defecating in fear as they are taken for slaughter;
  • Birds struggling as they hang upside down waiting to be killed;
  • A turkey producer admitting that the “odd” bird was not stunned properly;

This gruesome evidence was secretly filmed by an Animal Defenders Field Officer working as a ‘plucker’ or ‘hanger’ at several different establishments in Norfolk, Essex and Surrey. The Animal Defenders collected information at five turkey slaughterhouses and an intensive turkey farm, during November and December last year, implicating some of the top names in turkey production and revealing the source of turkeys for major supermarkets and other prestigious outlets.

Jan Creamer of the Animal Defenders notes, “At a time when we should be celebrating compassion and calling for peace on earth, the traditional Christmas dinner has become a tragic celebration of gluttony and animal suffering. These birds have been bred to be overweight and are killed at just a few weeks old.”

"Many people who enjoy what is regarded as the Christmas dinner will be horrified to learn of the suffering that brought it to their dinner plate. If they heard about a religious festival in some far off land in which millions of animals are denied daylight, fresh air, and then after a few weeks are brutally killed, they would be horrified. But this is happening here, this week.”

What YOU can do
An initial report and video was presented to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, and the Farm Animal Welfare Council in December. This has been followed with a report detailing specific areas of concern.

  • Why not go vegetarian? It tastes pretty good saving the lives of animals.
  • If you’re not ready to go vegetarian, start reducing the number of meat meals you have, try to avoid the worst excesses of factory farming, by buying free range.
  • Its almost a year to go until Christmas comes around again, so plenty of time to persuade friends and family to drop the turkey dinner.

© Animal Defenders International 2017