According to INDEPENDENT Can you remember what you were doing in the first week of September? That’s probably when the turkey you will eat on Christmas Day was born.

As we prepare for the season of peace and goodwill, turkey slaughter has gone into overdrive. Around 14 million turkeys are killed in the UK each year – 2 million in December alone. Most of them spent their lives in cramped industrial sheds – up to 25,000 birds may be confined to just one unit.

The average weight of a wild male turkey is around 7.5kg, but farmers artificially breed them to reach 25kg. The poor birds struggle to cope with this unnatural weight and their legs often break beneath them. Horrible abuses have been repeatedly exposed at various British turkey farms, including workers playing baseball with turkeys at a Bernard Matthews ranch.

The lives and deaths of alternative Christmas poultry are no happier. Every day in the UK, 2.5m chickens are slaughtered for meat. Most never saw the light of day until they were driven to the slaughterhouse at the age of six weeks. By that stage, many of them are crippled, their young bones unable to support their distorted body weight. Geese have endured a similar hell.