A Sheffield turkey farm has defended its practices ahead of an animal welfare protest in the city this weekend.
Andrew Clark, 51, runs Hangram Lane Farm with his wife Alison and son Matt.
Mr Clark says the animals are treated “like pets” and the turkeys’ imprint is to recognise him and wife Alison like parents.
“I kill them all myself,” he said. “We use electric so it’s instant.”
“The turkeys are kept in the shed for a few weeks, they’re all inside because I wouldn’t want to be out in the cold at the moment.”
Hangram Lane Farm is widely seen as one of the best farms in Sheffield, and will be responsible for hundreds of families’ Christmas dinners this year.
However, not everyone is so enthusiastic about the turkey trade.
Lifeline Campaign, Animal Justice Project, and Sheffield Animal Action are holding an interactive day of action this Saturday (8 December) where they hope to raise awareness of the meat-free cause.
Ayrton Cooper, Vegan Outreach Campaigner for Animal Justice Project, said: “Having met many individual turkeys, they have a zest for life.
“They love to play with others, with people and with toys – just like dogs do. They are incredibly gentle and compassionate beings who purr when being stroked just like our feline friends.”
Mr Cooper described the intensive raising of turkeys and their deaths as “devastating”.
He said: “I urge members of the public to take time to understand how intelligent and emotional these birds are, and to leave them off their plates this Christmas. Have a compassionate festive season!”
Laurence, a spokesperson for Sheffield Animal Action, said there is no need for animals to suffer needlessly at Christmas.
He claimed that many turkeys are killed just a few weeks into their lives, when their natural lifespan is 10 years.
He said: “My issue isn’t with turkey welfare as such. My issue is with millions of turkeys being needlessly killed every Christmas.
“They live in horrible conditions and most are kept in tiny sheds.
“There are loads of alternatives. You could do a nut roast instead or a wild rice dish – you should be creative with it.”