An AP story, Farmer says beer for birds improves flavor, claims that at least one farmer believes that’s the case. According to the AP article, Joe Morette of New Hampshire started giving his turkeys beer in 1993, when on a hot July day, “[a] turkey knocked one over and started drinking and they’ve been sipping the suds ever since.” He continues. “Morette, who prefers serving the turkeys lager, insists the beer makes birds fatter, more flavorful and juicier.” Peta is reportedly against this and stated “turkeys shouldn’t be fed beer and ‘farmers across the country use questionable practices to keep costs down or to alter the taste of animals’ flesh because their priority is profit, not the animals’ welfare.’” As far as I ‘m concerned that’s reason enough it’s a good idea.
Happily, cooler heads prevailed. “[A] poultry expert with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension said it is unlikely that the birds are suffering. ‘I don’t know exactly how much beer each turkey is consuming, but it would have to be a lot in order for it to kind of have the same effect as too much beer on people,’ said Carl Majewski, a field specialist in food and agriculture.”
It could even be good for them.
Kathi Brock, national director of Humane Heartland, which oversees the treatment of farm animals, said that standards from the American Humane Association don’t prohibit serving beer to animals. “I consulted with an avian veterinarian who said that while giving beer to turkeys is not a standard protocol, hops could be beneficial for the intestinal tract,” Brock said.