A Letter From Jane,
Animal Equality Investigator
Every summer I tell myself I won’t do a turkey farm investigation this year, but then winter rolls in and I find myself at another turkey farm. They are one of the most difficult jobs for me because the stresses of factory farming lead to such severe injuries for the turkeys.
Approaching the rows of sheds, all is quiet and still but then the smell hits me from across the field and lets me know the sheds are full of turkeys. The buildings are run down and the doors are unlocked.
I walk in and hear the birds quietly murmuring to each other in the pitch dark. As I put my head torch on, a wave of noise ripples through the birds as they all put their heads up to see what is going on. There are thousands of them in this one shed.
I slowly walk around, carefully picking my way through the birds to get a feel for the place. As I walk through the shed I see a bird collapsed on the floor covered in blood.
I assume she is dead and I make a note to circle back to her to take some photos. There are many other birds with injuries but in time, I make my way back to her. I kneel down and go to take a photo but then see her moving. She is still alive. Still holding on. I’m with her in her final moments.
I continue into the shed and more turkeys come up to me. They can be such inquisitive animals and are desperate for some stimulation. As I am crouching down they will peck at my watch strap or at a strap on my bag.
They show me their personalities and that they are individuals. Some are shy but others are outgoing and occasionally comical, following me around the shed but stopping in their tracks when I turn around.
These moments when animals show their personalities are tough because they can break through the emotional barriers I try to put up whilst working. It can be really hard to see so much suffering without these emotional barriers.
As I sit there with the turkeys, I can feel the straw which is wet with urine and faeces soaking through my clothes. That smell will stay with me on the way home, reminding me of what I’ve just seen.
The extreme confinement leads the birds to act out, sometimes bullying each other by pecking.
The birds are even more tightly packed together because recent heavy rain and the poor state of the buildings means part of the inside of the shed is flooded.
It is difficult to effectively capture the overall state of the place on film so I stick to taking photos of the animals.
Right at the back I find a line of birds that have all died and their bodies are decomposing. Some are down to full skeletons. I’ve seen several rats and assume they have eaten the dead but they run away before I can film them.
I can only imagine that the workers don’t check or can’t be bothered to try because the birds are so tightly packed together.
Leaving the shed and walking back to my car is a big relief. On the walk into the farm these fields carried the smell of a factory farm but on the way out the air has never smelt so good, such a welcome change from the warm stench that seems to stick to you.
I keep going because I can see change happening. It sometimes feels slow and I wish it was happening faster, but it is happening.
I will always remember the animals I see. They will always have a place in my heart.
As Christmas approaches, I will continue to be out there with the animals, filming what they go through. I do it because I believe in what Animal Equality is doing, and what you are helping them to do.
Investigations are one of the most powerful weapons we have against the meat industry which continues to abuse and exploit animals in their millions.
When I received thousands of messages from supporters like you, it made me realise the strength we hold, and that our collective voice is getting louder by the day.
The fact you are reading this means that you are one of those people who has dared to question what is happening behind the closed doors of factory farms.
For that, you are special. I know just how it feels to see something terrible and, despite feeling those awful emotions, to continue.
But now I have something to ask of you. Will you support me in this next investigation?
As I am working undercover, I can’t give you much information about it yet. But it’s coming, and we need your support to make sure it has the greatest impact it possibly can.
I know we are on the same side, you and I, and we can protect the animals which are so brutally abused by the meat industry. But we have to stand together.
The power of this next investigation depends on all of us and if we all make a contribution, it can be the biggest investigation yet. Will you stand with me today by making a donation?
I’m asking today because, as you may already know, a generous donor has agreed to match every donation made to Animal Equality, but the opportunity will only last for a limited time.
If you donate today, it will be like two people have donated, and we can give double the help for animals.
And if you make a monthly donation, the donor will match your donations every month for the next twelve months. It’s a really valuable opportunity. I hope you will take it.
I know this next investigation is going to be an important one.
Thank you for your support and for reading my message. It means so much.
P.S. If you’re unsure how the donation matching works, you can find more information here.