Industrial turkeys vs. traditional turkeys
Like pigs and chickens, turkeys in industrial operations are raised in densely packed metal buildings and never go outdoors. They spend their lives in increasingly crowded conditions as they grow larger. Feeding and watering are automated, so many operations function with little involvement of human beings. The stress and boredom of such a bleak existence mean that turkeys in industrial facilities frequently peck and cannibalize each other. To address this, industrial operations routinely cut off the front half of turkeys' beaks, causing intense, chronic pain. The ends of their toes are likewise snipped off. The extreme crowding also necessitates continually dosing the turkeys with antibiotics and other drugs to prevent diseases that result from stress and overcrowding. Typical facilities hold 10,000 birds per building, generating enormous quantities of manure and, correspondingly, notoriously foul stenches, fly plagues, and water pollution problems.
Then there are the birds themselves. It's often noted around Thanksgiving that Benjamin Franklin considered the turkey more suitable than the bald eagle to be our national symbol. The turkey, Franklin said, "is a much more respectable bird," admiringly calling it "a true original native of America" and a "bird of courage." However, the animal Franklin so admired bears little resemblance to the modern, industrial form of the bird. As is by now familiar to most people, turkeys at the massive facilities that today supply most grocery stores and restaurants are all of a single breed, the Broad Breasted White. The birds have little genetic variation, making them uniquely susceptible to a host of diseases; worse still, the animal has been grossly distorted by human-controlled selective breeding to have huge breasts, so huge that as the bird matures it has difficulty walking or even standing upright.