Advocacy Group Exposes the Myth Behind ‘Free-Range’ Turkey Farming

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East Bay Animal Advocates (EBAA), a California-based animal advocacy organization, unveiled the findings of its undercover investigation at a Â?free-rangeÂ? turkey farm in Northern California. The groupÂ?s graphic documentation (available at http://www.free-range-turkey.com) reveals that free-range turkey farming is quite similar to intensive, commercial turkey production. Over the course of the investigation, eleven turkeys were rescued.

East Bay Animal Advocates (EBAA), a California-based animal advocacy organization, unveiled the findings of its undercover investigation at a ‘free-range’ turkey farm in Northern California.

The group’s graphic documentation (available at http://www.free-range-turkey.com) reveals that free-range turkey farming is quite similar to intensive, commercial turkey production. Over the course of the investigation, eleven turkeys were rescued.

University of California-Davis poultry specialist, Ralph Ernst reports: "Most free-range birds are still fenced in corrals, though people like to imagine the birds are out roaming the range. They're not out exercising. These birds are raised much like the regular turkeys."

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the single condition for the term 'free-range' is that birds have access to the outdoors. All other facets of a free-range turkey's life can be indistinguishable from the living conditions of a conventional-raised bird.

“From both animal welfare and human health standpoints, free-range turkey is not a viable choice for individuals seeking guilt-free meals,” Christine Morrissey, director of East Bay Animal Advocates, states. “The current USDA guidelines are extremely misleading for consumers.”

EBAA is calling on the USDA to enhance standards for free-range poultry production by eliminating partial beak and toe amputation and instituting controlled atmosphere stunning.

Recently, high rates of Salmonella bacteria contamination have been discovered at free-range turkey processing plants. For example, one free-range plant achieved a contamination rate of 30.4 percent.

USDA health research indicates that there are insignificant nutritional distinctions between free-range and conventional turkeys. Cholesterol and saturated fat are found in both types of meat.

Founded in 2003, East Bay Animal Advocates is a nonprofit organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through education and rescue efforts, EBAA works on campaigns to defend animals harmed in agriculture, entertainment, fashion, households, research and beyond.

For more information and farm footage: http://www.free-range-turkey.com

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Christine Morrissey
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