I was wondering if your farm grants the public access to your farming facilities. Would it be possible for me to come see the conditions that the birds live in prior to slaughter? Or, would it be possible for me to come and see how the birds are actually slaughtered?
I was also curious about the following things:
- What is the average age of each bird when it is slaughtered? Are the birds typically allowed to reproduce before slaughter?
- Do you practise traditional methods of animal husbandry? Or are the birds artificially inseminated?
- Are the birds able to reproduce on their own? Ie. Do their reproductive organs have full functionality?
- Do you have a regular veterinarian who treats ill animals? What is your company policy with respect to ill or diseased animals?
- Do you currently have any policies or procedures to ensure that the birds exist in an environment with a stable social hierarchy?
- What procedures do you use to ensure that the workers in charge of handling the birds are treating the animals humanely? Are job applicants subject to any sort of screening process?
- Are you workers paid a living wage?
- Have you obtained SPCA Certification?
- Are your animals raised organically? Are you currently certified by the Canada Food Inspection Agency as an organic producer?
I am desperately seeking a local, ethical, meat producer. I want to know if there are still decent farmers out there. I want to believe in something.
Please let me know if this is you.
I only received one response, and it read:
Hope our program answers all your questions.
I spoke with a friend at Health Canada and he informed me that many poultry producers are concerned about Avian Bird Flu, so they don't let unauthorized individuals enter the barns.
Feeling like I'd hit a brick wall, I clicked on the "Stringent Certification Program" link and reviewed their procedures.
The most troubling part of their standards include the space allotted per 13kg bird, which is only 3.75 square feet (Section IV, Living Conditions, rule 1d). If you do the math, that is less than 2 feet by 2 feet. The birds are also not allowed access to outside runs (Section IV, Living Conditions, rule 2). The turkeys are also subject to beak and toe trimming (Section VIII, Physical Alterations, rules 1 and 2). Based on what I am reading, this seems like a factory farming operation to me. Beak trimming is a practise typically performed to prevent cannibalism, which can result when turkeys are kept in such confined spaces.
So, my quest for an ethical turkey continues. Christmas is fast approaching, and I am anxious to find an ethical turkey option for my family. For while I may not eat any turkey when we sit down to eat, at least I can try and make sure my family doesn't cook themselves a factory farmed bird.
My next option is to explore the real of heritage or heirloom turkeys. Stay tuned for more!