Each year, hundreds of millions of turkeys are slaughtered for food in the United States. Nearly all of these cautious, intelligent birds spend their short lives crowded by the thousands into dim, pestilent warehouses, knowing nothing but ceaseless boredom, anxiety, and discomfort. Some, like Turpentine, are raised on smaller farms. They may have a bit more room and even be allowed to go outside, but they too are typically killed at a very young age. Turpentine would have been slaughtered at 7 months old, even though the natural lifespan of a turkey is about 12 years.
It was Turpentine’s good fortune that a Farm Sanctuary member happened to live next door to the farm where he was raised. They became friends, and every day when she called out Turpentine’s name, he would gobble back to her. When she learned that her neighbor planned to give Turpentine to another farmer to slaughter him for meat, this kind woman persuaded the farmer to give Turpentine to her instead. She had intended to keep him as her own companion; her flock of hens, however, proved to be too rough for gentle Turpentine, so she reached out to us for a permanent home.
If Turpentine had reached the dinner table, the family that received him would have known him only as a carcass. They would not have seen his gentleness. They would not have seen him showing off his tail to his admirers. They would not have heard the cheerful gobble that he utters without restraint because he’s so eager to greet the day. They would not have known the pleasure of his company or the warmth of his affection for people.
A compassionate Farm Sanctuary member did see all this in Turpentine! Now rescued from his slaughterhouse fate, he surely has years of happiness ahead of him and more reasons than ever to gobble with delight.