Howdy Ballerina

The early morning call to advise that our Christmas presents were at the front gate got our attention, but we never could have imagined what awaited us there.As we approached the two large boxes and found ten glorious, chirping baby turkeys within, the sound of tyres crunching gravel as a car sped off down the road could be heard in the distance. 

Finding safety at Edgar’s Mission, they soon entered 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.

Handsome Ballerina was one of the lucky few. 

Sadly, Ballerina 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.

Breeding now requires the artificial insemination of females due to fact natural mating is an impossibility because of their unnatural size.

Given the chance turkeys are incredibly kind and indeed forgiving, as Ballerina so admirably demonstrates on a daily basis. But in factory farms, they endure the amputation of their toes and beaks to combat the resulting aggression that develops in the severely cramped conditions under which these birds are forced to exist.  

Three years on, Ballerina spends his days caring for his ladies Preena and Tiny Tina, and wandering 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, Ballerina has all the hallmarks of experiencing the world in much the same way as they do.

More Stories is an initiative from Edgar’s Mission, a not-for-profit sanctuary for over 400 rescued farmed animals with a vision of a humane and just world for all. Learn More.
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