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Starbuck, MN — Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national animal protection organization is releasing an undercover video filmed inside Hargin, Inc., a turkey breeding factory farm in Starbuck, Minnesota where an estimated 25,000 female turkeys are locked inside filthy, overcrowded sheds.
These hens will spend their lives being artificially inseminated over and over again — a frightening and violent process — 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.
As our video shows, hens routinely become entangled in the dilapidated and poorly-maintained mechanical nests used to collect eggs. In an effort to free themselves, these birds often endure severe, bloody injuries on their wings, feet, or necks — some will suffer so severely, they’re unable to survive.
There are no federal laws in the United States protecting turkeys (or other birds raised for food) from such cruelty, and as is standard in the industry, sick and injured birds are typically left to suffer without any veterinary care.
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 turkey farm, however, these hens will never get a chance to even see their young.
“Consumers are increasingly discovering the sad reality that animal cruelty is standard practice in the meat industry,” said COK’s executive director Erica Meier. “That’s why this Thanksgiving, a growing number of Americans are choosing to celebrate with a vegetarian meal that everyone, including the turkeys, can be thankful for.”
According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, turkey production is projected to drop 5 percent compared to 2012 — and that would bring it to it’s lowest point in 10 years.
For more information, including investigative footage, visit: COK.net/hargin