Shortly before the holiday season began, New York animal advocacy organization Humane Long Island (HumaneLI) rescued 3 turkeys from live animal markets in New York City, and Lady Freethinker is helping by covering the cost of the animals’ veterinary care and transport costs to their new sanctuary homes.

Turkey rescue

Photo via Humane Long Island

The three turkeys rescued by HumaneLI, who have since been named Karen, Davie, and Bianca, were taken to the vet and individually evaluated.

All of them were still babies. Karen was missing her snood – the fleshy appendage that drapes over a turkey’s beak – and a large portion of feathers. She also had a large scab on her back, likely due to being a victim of cannibalism from the overcrowded and filthy conditions where she was forced to grow up.

Davie was having trouble walking and standing, but Bianca’s condition was stable. It was determined they all had the last digit of their toes and the ends of their beaks cut off — standard practices on factory farms — and they all had bumblefoot, a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when a wound on an animal’s foot pad becomes infected.

Turkey rescue

Photo via Humane Long Island

Humane Long Island drove over 13 hours to transport Karen and Davie to J and J Farms Animal Sanctuary, located in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, so they could start their new lives.

Karen has settled in beautifully, according to J and J Farms Animal Sanctuary President, Jessica Poutous.

“Karen is doing wonderfully!” Jessica stated in an email to Lady Freethinker. “She is such an independent spirit!  Watching her discover the world around her has been such a treat.  She loves to be up high, but her ability to grip anything has been thwarted by the removal of her toes. To allow her the feeling of perching, one of our volunteers built a platform stand for her so she can survey her surroundings from above. She spends her nights sleeping there.”

Jessica also noted that Karen loves to listen to music, and enjoys eating squash and popcorn as a treat.

Unfortunately, Davie passed away following a seizure after a few days at the sanctuary. We are so sorry to hear of her passing, but are grateful that she knew only love and compassion in her final days.

Turkey rescue

Photo via Humane Long Island

The last turkey, Bianca, was taken to Freedom Farm Animal Rescue in Cedarville, New Jersey and is adjusting wonderfully as well. She loves spending her time with the other turkeys on the farm! We are so happy that she is safe, happy, and loved.

Live animal markets are notoriously cruel to animals. A Lady Freethinker investigation from 2022 revealed dead and suffering animals stacked in tiny, feces-covered cages or packed in cramped enclosures, lying in their own waste at New York City live markets.

Lady Freethinker is thrilled that Humane Long Island was able to secure the rescue of these intelligent, complex turkeys, and is urging everyone to leave turkeys and all animals off their plates this holiday season, and opt for humane plant-based alternatives instead.

“Turkeys are curious, inquisitive animals who form strong bonds and relationships with one another,” said Nina Jackel, president of Lady Freethinker. “We can all spare the lives of sensitive, intelligent turkeys and other animals by choosing compassionate meatless options for holiday meals.”

John Di Leonardo, president of Humane Long Island, plans to rescue more birds from live markets this holiday season and is reminding everyone that they can save 200 animals — just like Karen, Davie, and Bianca — annually, by simply leaving animals off their plates.

“Whether a fish, a horse, a turkey, or a dog, all animals feel pain and fear, experience joy, value their lives, and don’t deserve to be carved up and stuffed any more than we do,” says John, an anthrozoologist. “Humane Long Island is urging the public to show a little mercy this holiday season by tucking into savory, satisfying vegan roasts that give everyone something to be thankful for!”

If you haven’t yet, please sign our petition to help shut down all live markets in New York!

SIGN: Stop Animal Suffering and Death in Filthy, Dangerous Live Markets