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Before you sit down to dinner this Thanksgiving weekend there are some animal rights activists that would like you to consider the living conditions of turkeys at Hargin, a Minnesota factory farm.
Hargin farms house over 25,000 turkeys in five squalid sheds. An undercover investigation by Compassing Over Killing (COK) revealed the grotesque conditions that the turkeys are quartered in. The undercover video documents turkeys being forcibly inseminated, stricken with illness and disease, getting their limbs and feathers caught in misplaced farm machines, and thrown from atop their eggs by their feet and tail feathers.
In factory farms, turkeys are deliberately raised until they are so obese they are unable to move or mate naturally, according to COK. During the holiday season alone 45 million turkeys will be slaughtered for their meat.
Minnesota is the leading provider in turkey meat in the nation, there are 250 farms raising an estimated 47 million turkeys annually, according to CBS Minnesota.
Hargin Inc. supplies the Wilmar-Poultry Co. (which is the nation's largest turkey hatchery) with eggs. After the Wilmar Poultry Co. saw the video Compassion Over Killing released they made a statement that read:
“Willmar Poultry Company adheres to the National Turkey Federation guidelines on animal care and wellbeing, and we expect all of our suppliers to do the same. We will be following up with all of our suppliers and farm partners to ensure complete compliance with appropriate animal care guidelines.”
Unfortunately, not all regulations are adhered to, or humane, according to COK.
“There [are] voluntary guidelines that the industry sets for others to voluntarily follow,” said Erica Meier of COK. “And just because these guidelines exists doesn’t mean their humane. It just means the industry has deemed them okay for others to follow.”
The Willmar Poultry Co. has not yet heard from Hargin Inc. in response to animal cruelty accusations.