The rescuer then went on to tell us, through tear-filled eyes, of the melodious sweet chirps made by the curious six poults, of heads gazing around inquisitively, as they made their way to their new forever home. A home where they would never be surrounded by cranberry sauce or filled with stuffing, but rather one in which kind hearts will spare them from ever being the centrepiece of a dinner table.
Sadly, though, with the passage of time and the ravages imposed upon these gentle birds by selective breeding, and despite our specially tailored feeding program and all the love and kindness we could muster, only one remains—Marty.
Everyone who enters our sanctuary gates is welcomed by Marty and falls head over heels for him. But it’s not usually love at first sight as visitors are initially a little aghast at this strange, giant creature who doesn’t match their picture of what a turkey should look like. Wild turkeys, with their dark feathers and slender necks are perfectly evolved beings able to thrive in their natural habitat. While Marty and his domestically raised kin have been selectively bred to grow big and fast with as little feed as possible, leaving them with developing bones burdened under the weight of oversized muscles.
Adding further insult to this Frankenstein-like breeding program (which requires the artificial insemination of females due to fact natural mating is an impossibility because of the unnatural size of these animals) is the amputation of their toes and beaks to combat the resulting aggression that develops in the severely cramped conditions under which these factory farmed birds are forced to exist. Yet given the chance turkeys are kind, incredibly kind, and indeed forgiving, as Marty so admirably demonstrates on a daily basis.
We are truly blessed to have just celebrated Marty’s third anniversary at Edgar’s Mission. During the day he wanders the sanctuary in search of the next person he can treat to his serenading dance and be bestowed with a pat on his sweet head, purring all the while. And, yes, turkeys can purr; this happy and contented sound serves to remind people that although he may look different from their beloved pets, Marty has all the hallmarks of experiencing the world in much the same way as they do.