Turkey welfare and slaughter Video with Dr. Temple Grandin

Thanksgiving turkey slaughter welfare farming
Image via minnesota.cbslocal.com

Over the past several years, I have been engaged in several conversations about transparency, animal welfare, and requests for more information about how livestock make it to our plates. Recently, American Meat Institute has teamed up with Dr. Temple Grandin, a well-know animal scientist who focuses on improving animal welfare practices, especially during slaughter. The group has put together a series of videos that explain what happens prior to and during the slaughter process and shows views what Best Management Practices look like in this process. I think these videos are a great insight to help us visualize how livestock are turned into the meat on our plates.

From a Turkey FarmerEverything you wanted to know about Turkeys

Previously I have shared videos from AMI that walk us through the Beef and Pork slaughter processes. Just in time to learn more about the food on our tables for Thanksgiving, AMI and the National Turkey Federation released a video where Dr. Grandin walks us through the process of getting turkeys to the slaughterhouse and shows us how that happens. Take 13 minutes to watch the video.

Grandin guides the viewing public with an expert eye on the growth and delivery of 253 million turkeys each year. In the video, the viewer gets an up-close look as Grandin interacts with a flock of 15,000 birds roaming easily down the football-field length of a climate-controlled turkey house. When readied for market, those turkeys ride up into conveyor loading trucks and to an orderly delivery at the processing plant.

There, the process of humanely stunning the birds renders them unconscious before processing under the watchful presence of USDA government inspectors enforcing safe and sanitary preparation. At each step along the methodical movement of rinsing, cleaning and separating the meat from the carcass, Grandin provides context and common sense explanations. The reality of raising and preparing turkeys for market is revealed in the video for what it is: a modern process that is humane, safe and efficient. — from National Turkey Federation

 This video is a part of the Glass Walls Project from AMI to improve transparency efforts from large-scale animal processors. For more information on animal slaughter, AMI has this PDF available. There are also many great resources related to animal welfare and handling at animalhandling.org.

We may not all be able to visit slaughter houses, and I don’t expect these videos to make people remove their distrust of meat industries, but opportunities to learn from a distance are extremely important. I do hope folks will receive them as a move toward better transparency.

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  1. This was a great video and glad you shared it. Two questions though. How can I feel comfortable as a consumer, knowing that my store bought turkey came from one of these plants, where space is available for turkeys to roam, and where the stunning and evisceration machines are working properly? As she alludes to in the video, and several reports confirm,not all poultry farms and processing plants do things this well. So how can I feel good about buying my turkey from a farm and plant processing as efficiently? Also, I noticed that the USDA inspection is done after stunning and scalding. Am I correct in assuming the inspector is not present earlier along in the line, confirming the stunner is working correctly, and live turkeys are not being pulled through the scalding bath while still alive?

  2. This video did a great job of showing the humane treatment afforded turkeys in the slaughter process. Concerned consumers Should ask questions about where and how their food is processed. That questioning re-enforces the auditing process referred to by Temple Grandin. These consumers need to keep in mind that this is a slaughter process intended to take live animal and turn it into an edible form. The farmer and processors best interest is served by easy, safe, reliable handling to prevent damage to the final product. Mistreated animals lead to a damaged product resulting in lower profits. That is in no one’s best interest. Farmers and processors Want the Best handling process possible!

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