turkey centerpiece thanksgiving

An Update on our Turkeys for Thanksgiving 2023

Last Updated on January 22, 2024

For the last year and a half, the U.S. has faced the deadliest outbreak of avian influenza in the history of the country. While this highly contagious respiratory virus, also known as bird flu, affects wild birds and poultry and poses little to no health danger to humans, the impacts on the supply chain have been detrimental.

Unfortunately, when a farmer detects the disease in a commercial flock, the only USDA-recommended option in battling the spread of the disease is to euthanize the remaining birds in the flock. This is detrimental on many fronts – for the animals and for the farmers. These safety protocols set in place to prevent the spread of the virus have contributed to spikes in egg prices and decimation of poultry flocks across nearly every state in the U.S.

While the ButcherBox supply chain has not been impacted by avian flu, in an effort to maintain the health of the turkeys in our supply chain, many of our turkey farmers who raised our Thanksgiving turkeys were mandated to keep birds indoors this year to limit the risk of contracting and spreading the disease.

Without access to the outdoors, you’ll notice a slight change in our turkey claims this year. We’ve temporarily removed the “free-range” claim on our turkeys given the decision to keep some of them indoors to protect them from potential exposure to avian flu. The claim free-range means that turkeys have access to the outdoors throughout their entire lives. While we’ve removed the outdoor access for some of our turkeys, our turkeys are still:

  • All Natural, Young Turkeys
  • Raised with no antibiotics and no added hormones, ever
  • All vegetarian feed
  • Animal Welfare Certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP)

Transparency is something we pride ourselves on and we wanted to make sure our customers knew the why behind the change in some of the claims this Thanksgiving season. We know this was the right decision to deliver on our mission of prioritizing the health of the animals, the welfare of the farmers, and the environment, while ensuring our customers had everything they needed for a delicious Thanksgiving centerpiece.

While the infection rate across the country has been slowly decreasing, we are very attuned to the spread happening in South America and are keeping a close eye on any impacts this will have in increasing the U.S. infection rate again.

Kerin Norton is the Head of PR and Content Strategy at ButcherBox.