I have five months to live. So I’ll try to be quick. I’ll share my journey with you until the end. Please watch. Please listen. Please hear me. I’m not the only one.
What follows is a straight transcription of the story told in this video. Please watch for the full effect and find additional information in the afterward.
I am born into darkness. Darkness and cracking. The sounds of my brothers and sisters joining me.
And then: light. And movement. And suddenly everything’s upside down.
Today I are born. And today I have five months to live.
We’re on cold metal rollers. I try to stay on top with my house but I slip through. We all do. Our houses are taken away. And we’re moving.
There are Big Ones above us. One reaches down and grabs my sister. She’s thrown down a shiny tube. I make it past but the next one takes my brother. He’s thrown down another tube.
It’s so noisy with all of us. So much fear. And then I’m taken. The Big One pulls on my wing. Then I’m in a tube. Falling.
I land with my sisters. We see our brothers next to us, moving. All of us moving again.
More Big Ones are ahead. Something awful is happening. I hear them screaming. My brothers and sisters are screaming.
Something is wrong.
I try to run away but I’m still moving. Moving towards the screaming while running away. Always moving.
I’m grabbed again. But this time it’s not my wing they want.
My mouth. My beak. They’ve taken my beak.
I just got this beak. It was new and it was mine and now I’m bleeding.
My brothers and sisters are bleeding. We’re all screaming now. And moving again. Always moving.
I’m getting tired. My half beak is aching.
And then I hear it. More grinding. More chopping. More screaming.
I’m taken again. I’m upside down. We’re all upside down. And then the pain. My toes. All my toes. Gone.
Those were my brand new toes. No chance to walk with those toes.
And I’m bleeding more. We’re all bleeding. And moving. Always moving.
Down more tubes. Past more Big Ones. Until we’re all together so close and so tight. And moving. Always moving. But it’s different now. Moving but not moving.
And then we stop. It’s dark again.
The Big Ones come and take us. And now it’s time to stop moving. I’m up against my sisters. It’s hard to breath. There are so many of us.
No beaks. No toes. No room. This is our very first day.
Time passes. I grow so fast. We all grow so fast. I wish we were moving again. Moving is too hard. My legs can’t lift me. My sister tries to use her wings to inch to the food. Others gave up long ago.
I’m bleeding again. This time it’s on my side. I can’t see it, but I feel the wet heat of my blood. I’ve lost my feathers there. Something is wrong.
But I can’t see. No one can. It’s so dark.
Sometimes the Big Ones come in. Some times they kick us. Sometimes they say we’re lucky to be cage-free.
I don’t feel lucky.
Then one day, the Big Ones come. And they kick us again. But this time there’s light. They kick us towards the light. Some of my brothers can’t move. The big ones pull them by their necks or their wings. They drag them to the light. I try to walk. I’m so slow. I’m moving, but not fast enough. Then I’m flying.
Am I really flying? Why does it hurt so much to fly?
It was the Big One. It was holding me by my wings and tossed me to the light.
No flying for me.
We’re all tight together. Again. My wings are aching. My featherless spot is slick with blood and sharp with pain. My long-gone beak and toes are almost forgotten.
I’m five months old now. I don’t remember what it’s like to move.
We’re moving longer than ever before. It’s cold. My brothers around me are sick too. Some have stopped breathing. Some are breathing too much. I try to stay warm.
I’m hungry and thirsty. We’ve been moving forever. And then we’re not.
The Big Ones come back. And I see them. I see my brothers and sisters upside down again. And I think “what are they taking now? We don’t have more toes to give!”
Then I’m upside down too. And we’re moving. Always moving.
I hear water. Finally, water. I’m so thirsty.
I see my brothers and sisters going into the water and back out. I don’t understand but I’ll try to get a drink.
And then it happens. The shock.
Through my entire body.
More pain than when they took my beak. More pain than when they took my toes. More pain than my slick featherless spot.
More pain than ever.
I’m out. My sisters hanging beside me aren’t awake anymore.
Why am I awake? Why can I feel everything? I want to sleep too. I want to stop moving. But we’re moving again.
I hear whirring.
I smell blood.
Something shiny is below my sisters.
And then blood. Everywhere, blood.
It’s coming. The shine is closer. I’m moving towards it. I’m moving. I’m moving.
And then I stop.
Turkeys are typically slaughtered between 4 and 6 months of age, which is more than can be said for broiler chickens, who are usually killed at 43 days old.
In the United States, we slaughter around 37 million turkeys for Thanksgiving alone.
Cage-free and free-range turkeys are still crammed into over-crowded sheds and suffer from wounds and disease.
Turkeys are bred to grow so abnormally fast that they can’t support their own bodyweight and suffer broken bones and lameness.
No matter how well cared for, turkeys are sent to the same slaughterhouses and killed in the same manner. They’re often plunged into electrified baths which are supposed to shock them unconscious, but many remain awake and alert until having their throat slit.
There is no law in the United Stated governing the treatment of birds killed for food. Not for how they are handled, moved, or killed. They have no protection.
See some of the videos linked below for more information. To support messages like this, please see the support page.
Please share this post around to give a voice to the billions of turkeys and other birds slaughtered every year.
— Emily Moran Barwick