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 Farmer: Everything 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.
Want to connect with a Turkey farmer? Check out these pages
- Minnesota Turkey Federation on Facebook (Hosting this year’s Presidential Turkey!)
- Iowa Turkey Federation on Facebook