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Turkeys Are Having a Pretty Bad Month

Animal-abuse scandal at a turkey-breeding farm in West Virginia

smithsonian.com

The NYTimes ran a story last week about the latest animal-abuse scandal reported by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The group has released what it says is an undercover video of a turkey-breeding farm in West Virginia where workers punch, kick and generally bully the birds in their care. Don’t watch it before you settle down for Thanksgiving dinner; I haven’t mentioned the most disturbing details. The video is also embedded after the jump for those of you with strong stomachs.

Now, I’m not advocating a nationwide rush for “Tofurky” (that stuff tastes like a poorly cooked hotdog), but this report does disturb me. It suggests that at least one major U.S. turkey producer keeps its birds in a less than sanitary and healthy environment, which raises questions about food safety. And yes, some of the things done to these birds are nothing short of cruel.

On the other hand, some might argue, these turkeys are destined to die anyway. Does it really matter if they suffer a few extra slings and arrows along the way?

Watch more videos at PETA.org
What do you think?

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About Amanda Bensen

Amanda Bensen is a former assistant editor at Smithsonian and is now a senior editor at the Nature Conservancy.

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