Building a Better Turkey
Most of the turkeys gracing the nation’s dinner tables Thursday have been selectively bred for their white meat for so many generations that simply walking can be a problem for many of the big-breasted birds and sex is no longer possible.
A small research team is hoping to come to the rescue, employing the latest in biotechnology to chart the genetic map of America’s favorite Thanksgiving meal and eventually alleviate the breeding problems.
Surmounting the sex problem poses a bigger challenge. Because the toms’ breasts are so big, female turkeys need to be artificially inseminated. Identifying sex genes vital to reproduction would be a start, researchers say.
As Leopold’s current holiday caption contest shows a little inbreeding can be a terrible thing.
Meanwhile, some animal rights activists are decrying the genomic work as furthering what they see as a cruel process.
“That type of research is designed to make a bad situation a little less bad,” said Gene Bauston, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, which aims to prevent what it considers farm animal cruelty and promotes a vegan diet. “It doesn’t get to the problem that these animals are being treated as commodities and it’s generally done to fit the animal into the machinery of the factory farm.”
And of course the animal activists needed to weigh. The whole article had made my lose my appetite up until the point it got to people promoting a vegan diet. Now I’m going to make up a turkey sandwich.
Next years model
I just had to throw this picture in for good measure.