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Holiday Alert: Undercover Video Shows Cruel & Filthy Conditions inside a Minnesota Turkey Breeding Factory Farm


In 2013, a COK undercover investigator worked inside Hargin, Inc., a turkey breeding factory farm in Minnesota, the top turkey-producing state in the US. At Hargin, an estimated 25,000 female turkeys are locked inside five sheds, forced to live in cruel and filthy conditions.

Turkeys raised on factory farms are bred to grow obese so quickly, they can no longer mate naturally. Instead, they’re artificially inseminated – as shown in our video, this is a violent and frightening process that involves grabbing hens by their legs, shackling them upside down, and using a plastic tube to inseminate them.

These hens will spend their lives being artificially inseminated over and over again to continually lay eggs that will hatch young turkeys to be raised and slaughtered for food, including Thanksgiving dinners.

Some of the eggs from this facility will be sold to Minnesota-based Willmar Poultry, the nation’s largest turkey hatchery previously exposed for inhumane treatment of newly-hatched birds.

At Hargin, metal and plastic nesting machines are used to collect eggs, and our video shows hens getting entangled in the dilapidated and poorly maintained equipment. In an effort to free themselves, birds who get stuck by their wings, head, or feet, often endure severe injuries — sometimes so severe they’re unable to survive.

To make matters worse, the squalid, cramped conditions cause many hens to suffer from various ailments, such as severe irritations covering their heads and faces. As is standard in the industry, sick and injured birds are typically left to suffer without veterinary care.

Turkeys and the Turkey Industry

Turkeys are smart, social and inquisitive birds with unique personalities. They’re devoted mothers who, given the opportunity, are inseparable from their babies. At breeding factories like Hargin, however, these hens will never get a chance to even see their young. Read more.

Sadly, during the holiday season alone, more than 45 million turkeys will be killed for their meat. Treated as little more than mere meat-producing machines from the moment they hatch, the vast majority of these intelligent birds spend their entire lives intensively confined inside massive sheds and will never set foot outside. Unfortunately for these birds, there are no federal laws in the United States protecting turkeys (or other birds raised for food) from such cruelty.

The good news is that according to the US Dept. of Agriculture, turkey production in 2013 is projected to drop 5% compared to 2012 — and that would bring it to its lowest point in 10 years.

You Can Make a Difference:

Thanksgiving tradition is about celebrating life — and a growing number of Americans are choosing to do so by serving delicious vegetarian fare that everyone, including the turkeys, can be thankful for.

This holiday season, make compassion the centerpiece of your dinner table: Find free recipes, including vegetarian thanksgiving recipes, today at TryVeg.com.