I adopted a turkey at Farm Sanctuary. You can do the same here.
Is it true that turkeys are dumb?
There is a tendency for people who eat turkeys, or other animals, to perceive “food animals” as unworthy or undeserving of respect and compassion. One way for people to rationalize their choice to eat animals is to dismiss these beings as dumb. There is even a rumor that turkeys are so dumb that they will look up in the rain and drown. This claim is ridiculous and false. Farm Sanctuary has cared for turkeys for more than 20 years, and when it rains, the turkeys go inside their barn. No one who works at Farm Sanctuary has ever seen a turkey drown in the rain.
Do turkeys really suffer?
Every year, between 250 and 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter in the U.S. Sadly, these turkeys are not protected under most state anti-cruelty laws, and they are specifically exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act. To meet consumer demand for white meat, commercial turkeys have been anatomically manipulated to have abnormally large breasts. As a result, the birds cannot mount and reproduce naturally, and the industry now relies on artificial insemination as the sole means of reproduction. In addition, most factory farmed turkeys, comprising the vast majority of turkeys raised for holiday dinners, endure painful beak and toe mutilations, because they are given only about three-square-feet of space on which to live. Through all of this physical manipulation, the industry has yet to grow an animal who does not feel pain and is not curious, social or friendly.
But Thanksgiving is a tradition – why do we need to change it?
Using a turkey as the centerpiece and symbol of Thanksgiving is a relatively new tradition invented and actively promoted by the poultry industry during the 20th century. Thankfully, humans are not bound by cruel traditions. Just because we’ve done something routinely in the past does not mean that it is automatically right. Traditions must evolve over time in order for our civilization to thrive. We must strive for better, more compassionate ways to interact with one another, and with other animals. Find more information on the history of Thanksgiving here.
What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving?
In addition to staple Thanksgiving foods like baked squash, savory stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cornbread, there is also a growing variety of products that have been developed specifically to take the place of turkey at the Thanksgiving table. One popular product is called “Tofurky,” a meat-free, faux turkey roast made by Turtle Island Foods in Hood River, Oregon. If people want to make something themselves, they can just stuff a squash or pumpkin, instead of a turkey. After all, celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving entails celebrating ALL life by giving up the broiled bird. Find vegetarian holiday recipes and more here.