Activists illegally enter turkey buildings and are not charged, but growers are blamed


Activists illegally enter turkey

buildings and are not charged,

but growers are blamed

By Dick Olson

Nov. 30, 2017


Note: Dick Olson of Ephraim has been involved with turkey growing since 1942, although in the last few years he has handed the reins of his growing operation over to his son.


I ask an important question about the animal rights activists who came into our valley from California with the purpose of exposing the poor management job that our local turkey producers are doing under the Norbest brand.

On every gate leading into a turkey farm are signs that read “Poultry Security Area, Please Stay Out,” and most gates are locked. Apparently, the activists breached the signs, locks and gates to get to the buildings.

My question is: Why are these activists not in jail?

On the local TV stations, a female activist was shown holding a turkey that had a badly swollen sinus. She was being crowded by hundreds of turkeys who were curious as to who she was, which is what generally happens when a stranger enters the building. She said there were thousands in the building, and the other forty some buildings in the valley were equally crowded.

What an astute observation!?

The largest building in the valley, being 70 feet wide by 600 feet long, would hold more than 10,000 birds and not be crowded.

When turkeys are moved into the grow-out building from the brooder building, they are five weeks old and five pounds. They remain in the grow-out building for 8 to 13 more weeks, during which time they grow and continue to take up more space. It’s only during the final two weeks that they may appear crowded, a result of their impressive feed conversion as it relates to the weight of the turkey.

The day of a turkey producer starts very early each morning as he may have buildings to attend to.

As he enters each building, he observes the general conditions within the building, such as ventilation and heat, if needed. He then proceeds to make his way through the building, checking on the water and feed supply. He may find dead turkeys, which are disposed of. Sometimes one or two were missed the day before. He may also see a few turkeys with physical problems such as bad legs, fallen crops, blindness and being picked on by other birds.

It’s a very busy morning for the turkey producer.

When the news first broke about the activist break-ins, I remembered years ago when animal rights activists targeted the cattle, hog, chicken and mink industries. The mink producers took the hardest financial hit as the activists would go in at night and release the mink to the ground. Many mink were lost. I think one of their buildings was burned.

It’s a sad commentary when a hard-working farmer or rancher, be it of turkeys, mink, chicken, hogs or beef, must be subjected to the activists who sneak around at night breaking security and making it more difficult for them to produce food for grateful Americans.

To you consumers of turkey products: when you choose Norbest, you are getting a very good and healthy product. If you buy a whole turkey, you will see a tag on the bag with a picture of a turkey producer who, if he were to meet you, would say thanks.


Dick Olson