As everyone knows, turkey is the biggest American Thanksgiving tradition. Many people are so used to this tradition, that they do not realize the harmful effects.
The Thanksgiving turkey is not healthy, nor is turkey meat natural. The modern supermarket turkey is actually a crossbreed between a genetically engineered chicken and a buzzard. Sounds tasty, right? You may also not be aware that turkey is laced with sodium nitrate, a known carcinogen. Ever wonder how a big Thanksgiving turkey can be so large? This is due to the injection of synthetic hormones. Because of the way they are bred, the turkeys are not capable of reproduction and as a result, all turkeys are artificially inseminated. As for health, turkey is full of cholesterol and fat. And if you do not cook a turkey long enough, you are very likely to get food poisoning.
Another great reason for skipping the Thanksgiving turkey this season is how truly horrible turkeys in factory farms (which are where your supermarket meat comes from) are treated, especially around Thanksgiving because there is such a high demand. Have you ever driven past the horrendous smelling Perdue turkey farm on Old 56, with turkeys packed in so tight that they have very little room to move? That’s pretty bad, but true factory farm turkeys are treated at least ten times worse. In factory farms, when a turkey is hatched it gets its upper beak clipped off. They then spend the first three weeks of their life crammed into a brooder with hundreds of other turkeys. In the fourth week of their life, they are jammed into a windowless room with 10,000 other turkeys. These rooms very rarely get cleaned, so the turkeys are forced to wallow around in a ridiculous amount of feces. Because the turkeys are forced to live in such an unhealthy environment, they have to constantly be fed antibiotics, along with the growth hormones they are also being fed. Because the modern factory farm turkey is bred to be so top-heavy and is fed growth hormones, they often become too heavy to stand and their legs will collapse under them. Now, after the 16 weeks of misery they have already gone through, it is time for the slaughter. The turkeys are loaded onto a conveyor belt and have their throats slit to die by bleeding to death. They are then dropped into a vat of boiling water to remove their feathers. Oftentimes for this process, the turkeys are still alive. If you have any heart, you will know this is wrong.
I am not telling you that you have to be a vegetarian from now on; that is your choice. I am, however, strongly suggesting that you skip the Thanksgiving turkey this year, and encourage your entire family to do so as well. Does this mean you have to go without the traditional experience of turkey this Thanksgiving? Not necessarily. If you do not already know, there are meat-free alternatives to the traditional turkey carcass. The most popular and well-known alternative is the Tofurkey brand “turkey”. It is made from soy, like a variety of vegetarian “meats”. It has gravy and stuffing inside. I have honestly not tried this type of faux turkey, but Dr. Oz endorses it. In my opinion, the way to go is the Qorn faux turkey. It is made from a mushroom protein and tastes just like real turkey. Everyone in my family who has tried agrees that it is delicious. You can find a faux turkey at a health food store like Rainbow Blossom in New Albany near the Great Escape Theatre or at a grocery store like Kroger or Meijer. If you are in a larger city like Louisville you’re likely to find it in any grocery store, like Meijer or Walmart.
This Thanksgiving, try a healthier, kinder, and more natural alternative to the traditional turkey.
Lauren Voyles, Staff Writer