This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
On the factory farms that supply the overwhelming majority of meat today, turkeys are crammed so tightly into dark, windowless sheds that spreading a wing is nearly impossible.
To prevent these extremely stressed birds from hurting each other in this unnaturally confined setting, parts of the turkeys' beaks and toes are cut off without any painkillers. And earlier this month, video was released from inside a Butterball farm showing workers kicking birds and violently slamming them into transport trucks, abuses that have become disturbingly commonplace.
All of these acts would be considered animal cruelty if performed on a cat or a dog. Yet, under Utah law, turkeys are exempt from protection since they are being raised for "agricultural" purposes. Indeed, Utah's indefensible "Ag-Gag" law now makes simply filming this abuse a crime.
We can all make a compassionate choice to boycott animal cruelty this holiday season. Whether your nearest supermarket is Smith's, Harmon's, or Whole Foods, meat alternatives such as Tofurky and Field Roast are available for purchase.
This Thanksgiving, I hope more Utahns will give turkeys something to be thankful for by leaving them off the dinner plate.
Salt Lake City,