The natural behavior and habitat of wild turkeys stand in sharp contrast to the life of turkeys commercially raised for meat. Overcrowded in automated, barren “grow-out” houses, turkeys are offered little opportunity to display their full range of complex social, foraging, and exploratory behavior. Today’s commercial breeds grow at an unnaturally rapid pace to unprecedented weights. This forced rapid growth further compromises their health and welfare, and causes them to suffer from skeletal, muscular, and other health problems, as well as painful and often crippling leg disorders. Breeding birds, unable to mate naturally due to genetic selection for fast growth and excess breast muscle (meat), must be continuously feed-deprived in order to control weight. The catching, transport, and slaughter of turkeys subject them to stress, injury, and pain. Each of these issues is a highly significant welfare problem in need of immediate redress.
The Humane Society of the United States, "An HSUS Report: The Welfare of Animals in the Turkey Industry" (2008). IIA. 11.