Can't imagine Christmas without a turkey? There are higher welfare turkeys available, and the turkey alternatives may surprise you.
90% of turkeys are intensively farmed - often kept in groups of 25,000
Beak trimming is performed on most turkeys - even those raised "free range
Turkeys are normally slaughtered between 9 and 21 weeks old. They are very strong and difficult handle and are often injured when being caught and caged.
99% of Christmas turkeys sold in Supermarkets are bred by Artificial Insemination because they have been developed to have large breasts and small short legs and this renders them incapable of natural mating. The stags (males) are 'milked' (have their semen taken) and the hens caught several times a week to be forcibly inseminated.
Suppliers of high welfare turkeys
Frogs Abbey Farm - They do not believe in beak trimming, their turkeys have ample outside pasture and are slow growing. They told us "we believe that for an animal to give its life; we have to respect the animal. We encourage our customers to make the best use of the animal and provide a leaflet with recipe suggestions for leftovers and to use the carcass to make stock."
Rutland Organics - As Soil Association licencees, their turkeys never suffer beak trimming, are provided with plenty of space when indoors and seven acres of free range space when outdoors. When it comes time for slaughter, the turkeys avoid stressful transportation and are individually slaughtered on the farm. They are slow growing and bred naturally.
Higher Hacknell Organic Farm - Also Soil Association licencees, their turkeys do not have their beaks trimmed and are free range during the day and provided adequate indoor space at night. The are slaughtered in a small organically certified abattoir very near to the farm.
Quorn Family Roast - We think this is the most "turkey-like" vegetarian (not vegan) option. Widely available at most supermarkets and even better with some delicious veggie gravy. Don't be put off by the look of it; trust us!
Christmas Wellington - If you're up for cooking from scratch, here's one recipe of many wellington-type dishes available.
Thank Goodness Luxury Nut Roast - forget what you think you know about nut roasts; they've come a long way! This one is extra special with Christmasy cranberries.