Top 10 Reasons Not to Eat Turkeys
During this holiday season of peace and good will, anyone can save a turkey like Lofty by choosing a veggie meal for the holiday feast. Take it a step further by making a veggie diet your New Year's resolution, and you'll save hundreds of Loftys and Babes and other dear animals who don't want to die in the new year!
Need more motivation to erase the turkeys, chickens, pigs and other animals from your holiday grocery list? In one step, you can sweep away worries about your waistline, catering to veggie visitors and your guilty conscience simply by exploring super-tasty vegetarian meals.
In nature, turkeys are inquisitive and intelligent birds, but when they are reared for slaughter, they endure lives of suffering and terrifying deaths.
Here are 10 (out of a million!) good reasons to carve out a new tradition by flocking to vegetarian fare during this holiday season.
1. Turkeys Are "People" Too
Turkeys have personalities, just as dogs and cats do. According to Oregon State University poultry scientist Tom Savage, turkeys are social and playful. Of course, Mr and Mrs Wickersham, who took in Genevieve, a rescued turkey, could tell you that. Genevieve comes when she is called, loves classical music and dances to the flute. Turkeys relish having their feathers stroked and will "sing" along to their favourite tunes.
2. Fear Factories
In factory farms, turkeys are crowded together so tightly that flapping a wing or stretching a leg is close to impossible. To prevent stress-induced fighting, their beaks are often cut off with a red-hot blade. At the abattoir, the birds are stunned by having their heads plunged into an electrically-charged water bath, but some birds are not rendered unconscious and are scalded to death in the defeathering tank.
3. Don't Be a Butterball!
There is no fibre in turkey meat, but there is cholesterol – a whopping 83 mg in a 112 g serving, which also contains 8.3 g of fat, including 2.4 g of saturated fat. Turkey is not a "health" food compared to truly healthy foods such as beans, veggies, fruits, grains and nuts. Research has shown that meat-eaters are a whopping 50 per cent more likely to develop heart disease and nine times more likely to be obese than vegans.
4. Bird Flu Blues
Experts warn that a virulent new strain of bird flu could spread to humans. Cooking a turkey can adequately kill bacteria and viruses, but even a little of what makes you ill can lurk on cutting boards and utensils and thus spread to hands or foods that won't be cooked.
5. Turkey-Free, Cholesterol-Free Tasty Treats
If you want the taste of turkey without the ethical dilemma or cholesterol, there is a cornucopia of turkey alternatives, including Redwood Foods' Cheatin' Roast Turkey and Celebration Roast, which comes ready-sliced with gravy and gourmet sausages wrapped in Streaky Style Vegetarian Rashers. Realeat Veggie Roast comes with stuffing and can be topped with Redwood's Cheatin' Bacon.
6. Want Stuffing With Your Supergerms?
Dosing turkeys with antibiotics to control the diseases that spread rapidly in filthy, crowded sheds poses even more risks for people who eat them. Leading health organisations, including the World Health Organisation, 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.
7. Foul Farming
Anyone who has driven by a factory farm has probably smelled it first from a mile away. Turkeys and other animals raised for food produce tons of excrement, all without the benefit of waste-treatment systems. The methane gas produced by turkey waste pollutes the air and contributes to global warming.
8. Feed the World
Millions of people go hungry and thirsty in the developing world while grain and water are squandered on the developed world's factory farms. Why should we feed grain to turkeys to produce meat when many more people could be fed if the grain was fed directly to them?
9. Give the Turkeys Something to Celebrate!
Let's face it: If you're eating a turkey, that's a corpse on your 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? Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill, so why not extend those sentiments to turkeys too?
10. What's Bugging You?
There are all sorts of killer bacteria found in turkey flesh, including salmonella and campylobacter. The government's Food Standards Agency has written a detailed 1,000-word guide for cooking turkeys in an attempt to reduce the large number of people who contract debilitating (and sometimes fatal) food poisoning every year.