Spare a thought for your Xmas turkey

As we enter the party season and start indulging in all manner of festive food delights, I ask your readers to spare a thought for the animals, including the millions of turkeys farmed for our Christmas dinners every year.

Turkey  Picture by Simon Hulme
Turkey Picture by Simon Hulme

Most people will probably be shocked to know the majority of turkeys we buy come from farms where they are kept in crowded conditions, without enough space to move around and exercise properly.

Turkeys are intelligent birds and need things to keep them active and engaged, such as objects to peck at and perch on, and plenty of space to exercise and stretch their wings.

The good news is the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme requires all of these provisions and more. And we can all do our bit to help improve the lives of turkeys by choosing those with higher welfare labels, such as Freedom Food.

Sadly, despite the growing trend for ethical food, only a small proportion of British farmed turkey is reared to higher welfare standards, with just 14% being from Freedom Food farms where they are inspected to RSPCA standards. So we need retailers to help too by listening to consumer demand for higher welfare food and stocking more of them. That way more of us can enjoy a welfare-friendly Christmas!


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Visit for more information on turkey welfare and some great festive recipes.

Mia Fernyhough