Buy a Locally Farmed Free Roaming Turkey and it Benefits us All

When a friend posted on Facebook the other day about the recent controversy in New Jersey over gestation crates for pigs and her horror over the reality of factory farming, I thought, “How in the world can anyone not know about this?”

The post was a result of Jon Stewart’s reaction to NJ Gov. Chris Christie refusing to sign a bill passed by the state’s legislature to ban the diminutive crates, which keeps breeding pigs from being able to even turn around for most of their lives.

But then I remembered I didn’t always know these things. Like most Americans, I was happy pretending my meat originated in that plastic wrapped Styrofoam platter at the grocery store.

The fact is that unless you’re buying your meat – any of it – from local farmers who keep their animals on free range, you’re likely buying factory farmed meat.

It’s hard to ignore here in the Natural State of Arkansas where there is a problem with factory farming pork, but there is also a  factory turkey farm every few miles along the rural landscape. As a matter of fact, there are two off of our main county road.

Driving by these places is the main reason Dale and I don’t eat turkey any longer. We can’t see a piece of turkey and not think of the wretched smell emanating from these factory farms in the summer, before the turkeys are sent to slaughter. If the wind is blowing just right in the summer, we can even smell the stink of one of the farms, which is at least 5 miles from Our Little House.

As you drive past these long barns and the turkeys get bigger, it’s not only the smell that is bothersome, but the fact that there are so many birds packed into the barns that some of them are smashed up against the wired windows.

On my friend’s Facebook post, several people commented about having to do research to find meat that come from farmers who treat their animals in a humane manner and who sell animals that haven’t been shot up with growth hormones (factory farmed turkeys have breasts so freakishly large, they can barely walk and none of them can fly) and antibiotics.

This week, I noticed our local natural food market, which I love, posted that their locally sourced turkeys were on sale throughout the month. Yes, sometimes you do have to order meat from outside of your area, but I’m betting if you look at your local farmer’s markets and natural food stores, you’ll find it as well.

I’m sticking to my 90% vegan diet, but I do eat meat on occasion, and when I do, I would rather it be meat sourced by a farmer who allowed the animal to have some sort of life instead of a factory farm on which it had none and was shot up with all kinds of drugs.

It’s better for the animal

It benefits the farmer

It benefits our health as well

If you haven’t bought your Thanksgiving turkey yet, I hope you’ll think about buying local, sustainable heirloom bird and if you have, maybe you can change your tradition and buy local next year.

This slideshow has more about factory farmed turkeys.

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