The National Turkey Federation (NTF) and the American Meat Institute (AMI) on October 8 released a video presentation of a turkey farm and processing plant hosted by animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University. The video is available on NTF's YouTube channel or by visiting AMI's "Glass Walls Project" online.
Grandin guides the viewing public on the growth and delivery of 253 million turkeys each year. In the video, the viewer gets an up-close look as Grandin interacts with a flock of 1,500 birds roaming down the football-field length of a climate-controlled turkey house. When readied for market, those turkeys ride up into conveyor loading trucks and to delivery at the processing plant. There, the process of humanely stunning the birds renders them unconscious before processing under the presence of U.S. Department of Agriculture government inspectors enforcing safe and sanitary preparation. At each step along the movement of rinsing, cleaning and separating the meat from the carcass, Grandin provides context and common sense explanations.
"I'm really pleased that the industry wanted the public to see this process because I think we need to show people how it's just done right in a typical plant," Grandin said. "There's a lot of good work going on in animal agriculture and I'm glad we're telling our story openly and honestly."
The generations that have moved away from the farm to the city take a personal interest in seeing how their food is raised, said National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger. "Those farms are far from the cities but in this video are brought closer through Dr. Grandin's one-of-a-kind way of explaining the orderly process of getting turkeys to market."
More than 120,000 people have viewed AMI's beef and pork plant video tours, and the turkey video tour is expected to be a similar success, according to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. Boyle said that hundreds of teachers have written to AMI seeking "Glass Walls" materials to use with their students, including a print piece that was reviewed for accuracy by Grandin.