Welcome guest poster, Katy of Non-Toxic Kids, and author of new must read e-book, Eat-Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents
What’s up with that Butterball turkey? Sure, it’s cheaper, it’s available, and your mom used to make it, but…
That turkey was likely raised on a factory farm. Just what is a factory farm? According to the website, Sustainable Table,
“Many of today’s farms are actually large industrial facilities, not the green pastures and red barns that most Americans imagine. These consolidated operations are able to produce food in high volume but have little to no regard for the environment, animal welfare, or food safety. In order to maximize profits, factory farms often put the health of consumers and rural communities at risk.”
And there are many serious environmental and health concerns with eating factory-farmed meat.
1. Antibiotic Exposure.
When eating conventional turkey and other factory farmed meats, your family is exposed to antibiotics used in the process of maintaining the overcrowded conditions that exist on factory farms. This medication is used to keep the animals disease free in the packed, unhealthy environments they are kept in. In fact, more antibiotics are being used on animals in farming than in medicinal purposes for humans. This raises the risk of animals and people developing virulent bacteria resistant infections, which can be easily spread to children and the elderly.
2. Hormone Exposure:
Factory farmed bird may be injected with growth hormones to cause rapid growth. Many are also injected with spices, stock, water, and other favors that cause the turkey to have a mushier texture.
3. Global Warming and Air Pollution
Factory Farming Contributes to Global Warming and Air pollution. These industrial farms emit toxic hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and methane, while using massive amounts of fossil fuels to function. Factory farms are 90 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.
4. Factory Farms Pollute Local Communities and Waterways.
People that live near factory farms breathe harmful gases from waste pools, and their drinking water is contaminated with livestock waste. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “nitrates often seep from lagoons and spray fields into groundwater. Drinking water contaminated with nitrates can increase the risk of blue baby syndrome, which can cause deaths in infants. High levels of nitrates in drinking water near hog factories have also been linked to spontaneous abortions. Several disease outbreaks related to drinking water have been traced to bacteria and viruses from waste.”
5. Factory Farmed Turkeys and Genetically Modified Organisms.
They are fed genetically modified corn, soy, and grain. There are questions about the safety of genetically modified organisms and the consumption of genetically modified crops.
6. Factory Farmed Turkeys Live in Inhumane Conditions.
According to Farm Sanctuary, “Each chicken is given less than half a square foot of space, while turkeys are each given less than three square feet. Shortly after hatching, both chickens and turkeys have the ends of their beaks cut off, and turkeys also have the ends of their toes clipped off. These mutilations are performed without anesthesia, ostensibly to reduce injuries that result when stressed birds are driven to fighting.” How terrible!
Where Can You Find a Locally Raised Turkey?
Where can you find your locally raised turkey? You can use this resource from the Sustainable Table and Eating Well to search for one. Or at your local farmer’s market, or your local natural foods store. Place your order soon, and you’ll know you are making a step to protect your family and help the environment.
To learn more about eating non-toxic, green and healthy, please check out my new eBook, Eat-Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents. In addition, visit Non-Toxic Kids for green parenting news; opportunities for activism; tips on natural living; and music, book and eco-friendly product reviews.
Join the Conversation
- Do you obtain your turkey from a local farm?
- Thoughts about buying a butterball turkey?
- If you buy your turkey from a local farm, what was the difference in taste from grocery bought?
Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Katy’s new e-book since I believe in a healthy non-toxic diet for all of us especially our kids. Every purchase helps the site.
Lindsey Carmichael says
Just want to clarify the information in your second reason to avoid factory farmed turkeys. Hormone use is not allowed in any poultry products in the US. It is however allowed in beef products, and should be avoided if possible, as synthetic growth hormones are suspected endocrine system disruptors.
Thanks for your comment! I know that hormone use is not allowed, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t being used. According to the New York magazine’s 2005 turkey buying guide, growth hormones may be used in creating conventional, rapidly grown turkeys. So, just to be on the safe side it is another good reason to avoid a factory farmed bird.
I would also like to add that it’s important to make sure your turkeys are raised on pasture, and with non-corn and soy feed. The supplemental feed poultry get should be organically-sourced. Locally-raised is important, but without quality feed and pasture-raised environment, you might as well go back to buying commercial birds.
Anna@Green Talk says
Raine, good point. How do you find this out? Is there a site that tells you which farms raise their turkeys this way? Anna
Paul@Washing Machines says
I honestly never thought about this but it makes sense! Is there a directory I can go on to find local turkeys?
Turkey Farm says
Those are the exact reasons why I stopped eating meat from factory farm, switching to organic food had some good effects and changes to my health in a way.