11/22/2012 09:19 am ET

Thanksgiving 2012: Turkey Facts And Non-Food Uses For The Holiday Fowl

Thanksgiving is upon us, which makes many people think about three things only: Turkey, turkey and more turkey.

According to LiveScience, 46 million turkeys were consumed on Thanksgiving in 2010. That means every consumer ate about 3 pounds of bird. Thanksgiving feasts account for about one-fifth of annual turkey consumption, and that number is increasing. According to the National Turkey Federation, we eat nearly twice the number of turkey dinners than we did just 25 years ago.

Yet backlash is growing against the traditional turkey feast. Activist group Mercy For Animals recently released a video alleging abuse at a turkey farm -- the undercover footage shows birds being thrown, dragged and kicked. The farm in question is owned by Butterball, a poultry production company known for its Thanksgiving turkey tips hotline. Previously, Butterball employees were charged with animal cruelty after officials raided a North Carolina facility.

Whether or not you plan on consuming poultry this holiday season, turkeys are often overlooked for their non-dinner uses. Flip through the slideshow below for fascinating ways that turkeys contribute to everyday life, beyond our plates.

Want more fun turkey facts? David Mizejewski, a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation, blogged about the wild fowl’s fascinating oddities. If you are looking to make your holiday extra eco-conscious, check out Avital Binshtock’s tips for greening your Thanksgiving here.

Uses For Turkeys (Beyond Food!)