To put that in perspective, according to the CDC, that average man weighs 18 percent more than he did 55 years ago. So how did we get to this feathery obesity epidemic of epic proportions? Selective breeding and lots of growth hormones, to the point that the largest breed of turkey out there, the breeding tom, weighing in at 50 to 70 pounds, cannot reproduce naturally and must continue the line of fat birds via artificial insemination. Most Thanksgiving turkeys are what the industry calls heavy or young hens, which weigh up to 44 pounds.
According to reports from animal rights organizations like PETA, oversized turkeys can have serious mobility problems, which can make them unable to fly, or in many of the hens’ cases, lay eggs.