Many farm animals, when taken out of the intensive farming environment, display personalities – and turkeys are no exception. They are intelligent, agile, curious, and possess a beauty that is unique to their species. They enjoy freedom and companionship. They even listen and sing along to music.
Did you know they can live for up to 10 years? I say ‘can’ because, sadly, this is not the case for tens of millions of these gorgeous animals.
Every year around 300 million turkeys are bred only to be killed.
Researching the farming practices of turkeys destined for our dining tables is deeply disturbing. In the United States, over 45 million turkeys die just for Thanksgiving, with millions more consumed throughout the year.
Although Australia doesn’t have the tradition of Thanksgiving, the consumption of turkeys has become more popular here with 4.7 million processed each year. As the global demand on the meat industry increases, that number is unfortunately growing.
It’s your choice. You can save a turkey this Thanksgiving
Everyone – not just us vegans or vegetarians – can make a difference by choosing not to buy a turkey for your Thanksgiving meal. There are loads of spectacular and festive alternatives including everything from nut roast and stuffed pumpkins to a very creative looking soy-based turkey I spotted online last week. It had drumsticks and the works! If you’re looking for inspiration, check out what our top 40 vegan food bloggers are preparing for Thanksgiving on their blogs.
Here are three ways in which you can make a difference in the life of a turkey:
1. Sponsor a turkey
Many animal rescue centres and sanctuaries like Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, and sanctuaries have sponsorship programs. For around $10 per month, you can sponsor a turkey (or other rescued animals). Most organisations will provide photos or emails of your sponsored animal – and some even allow you to visit and say hello in person. Society throws these beautiful creatures away so they need all the support they can get.
2. Adopt a turkey
There are many brilliant groups out there that dedicate themselves to saving animals. Just as you can adopt a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue group, sometimes turkeys will be available for adoption or rescue. If you have experience with poultry and have the space to let a turkey live out the rest of his or her life, you could consider adopting a bird in need.
3. Spread the word
There are many ways in which you can promote veganism and animal rights. Faced with a family gathering this Thanksgiving, you will probably feel better knowing you are involved in a movement that is trying to make a difference. Talk these issues through with your friends and family. Help raise awareness. Perhaps even show a picture of the turkey you are sponsoring this Thanksgiving. You never know who might turn vegan or vegetarian by next year and join you on the nut roast!
Happy turkey-saving Thanksgiving!