Ever wonder what the real difference is between wild turkey meat and commercialized domestic turkey meat?
Let us start by saying there are plenty of responsible, ethical and sustainable farming operations that offer great alternatives to commercialized turkey farming. The main focus is on the health and environmental impacts associated with wild turkey meat and the most commonly grown commercial breed, the broad breasted white turkey.
Here are the Nutritional Facts broken down. (per 3.5oz)
Protein 25.7 23.5
Fat % 1.1 1.5
Cholesterol 55 60
Calories 163 146
Although the differences seem minimal at first glance, many differences go unseen. Due to years of commercialized breeding the broad breasted white turkey can no longer breed without human assistance. Additional chronic health problems including heart disease, respiratory failure and joint damage lead to an extremely poor quality of life for these birds.
The commercialized turkey industry goes as far as injecting flavor into the turkey meat because of the lack of flavor associated with growing any animal so quickly. Medicated feed and the unnatural growth rates of commercialized turkey make our locally farmed and wild hunted turkey far more flavorful than most people realize.
Ironically, even the turkey pardoned by the president every year will die within a few months from these health issues. The environmental impact of commercialized turkey farming is so great that it produces over 8 billion pounds of carbon emissions from Thanksgiving alone. These statistics are unsustainable when extrapolated to encompass annual commercialized turkey yields.
This, among many reasons, is why the locavore movement continues to expand. Buying from local farms, sustainable operations or hunting your own wild turkey meat not only has a minimal carbon footprint and far more positive impact on the environment, but also an increased quality of life for the turkey itself.