On the way to our new place, there is a terrible turkey factory farm. TERRIBLE. One week we went by, saw the giant turkey house all filled with turkey faces, filled to the brim. And the next week, it was empty….except there were dead bodies of turkeys inside as we drove by, it was so sad. Everything about this farm is neat and tidy and enclosed, but we saw the evidence (feathers all over the doorways) of what had happened as the turkeys must have been collected to be taken to the processing plant, wherever that is. Terrifying and horrible. I come home to my peaceful, lovely birds and feel so good about giving them such a good life, free from stress, out in the sun and wind and having them able to live a normal bird life.
When we drove back home past this horrid place, I wanted pictures, but we were kind of freaked out to take drive-by pictures. But here’s what we saw: an older dude, with a bobcat – and his bobcat bucket was full of dead turkeys he was collecting from the giant factory farm shed. FULL. He was throwing them in right then as we slowly drove past. I hold no anger towards him- he is just serving a market that exists. For sliced, cheap deli turkey meat. And whatever else. The poor guy probably is living at poverty level after all his debts to build these giant barns to house the turkeys. The issue of how to feed the world better meat is still a question up in the air. If there were more small scale farmers raising food for the families they serve, we could do it, but it would require a different approach about meat consumption in general. There is a tendency to look at meat as being THE centerpoint of every single meal. This doesn’t have to be the case. Vegetarian-based food is easier and cheaper by far.
I like to eat meat, no denying it. I don’t eat meat off my farm, not from animals I don’t know. You can start by being particular about the producers and go from there. Not everyone can raise their own meat, but you can find compassionate people who can do that for you, and support them. You can stop buying and supporting the opposite situation. Like I said, that guy with his little factory farm is only doing this cuz it brings in income that comes from DEMAND. If he knew he could raise less turkeys in a better scenario for them, with more money for him, well, this would make the world a better place. Sort of idealistic, but really though, it only takes the consumers to tell him that. One thing is that the old-school farmers may not be open to new ideas, but they may be. The focus needs to be the new farmers who ARE changing things, doing it right, raising animals correctly and humanely and consciously for you. Find them, support them, and help them thrive= eating better for everything.