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There is no holiday more focused on killing the members of a single species than Thanksgiving. Each November, more than 45 million turkeys end up onMark_meets_the_turkeys dinner plates in the US. Turkeys raised and killed for food are drugged to grow so large inside windowless factory farms that they are crippled by their own weight; indeed, they can no longer even reproduce naturally. Moreover, to prevent the birds from harming one another in the confined spaces of a factory farm, farmers clip their upper beaks in a painful procedure that makes it difficult for the turkeys to eat.

Fortunately, more and more people are giving thanks by making compassion the centerpiece of their table and opting for a cruelty-free holiday. From Tofurky Feasts and Field Roast products to a bounty of delicious plant-based recipes found in an ever-growing selection of vegan cookbooks, there’s no need to kill anyone this Thanksgiving.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur/Farm Sanctuary

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur/Farm Sanctuary

One activity that has become especially popular is to visit a sanctuary for farmed animals and feed the turkeys. These so-called “ThanksLiving” events give us the opportunity to interact with these remarkable animals and treat them to pumpkin pie, cornbread, cranberries, and other goodies. I’ll never forget the first time I got to meet turkeys at Animal Place; they are so gentle and curious and enjoy being talked to and petted. Check out this excellent sanctuary guide from Vegan.com to find an event near you. (Tip: If you’re an animal activist, visiting or volunteering at an animal sanctuary and connecting with the animals is incredibly important.)

And if, like me, you love cooking up a feast, visit some of these sites for easy recipes and information on vegan eating:

ChooseVeg.com

ExploreVeg.org

FoodIsPower.org

GetVegucated.com

GoVeg.com

OhSheGlows.com

Post Punk Kitchen

Vegan.com

VeganMexicanFood.com

So enjoy a delicious, vegan Thanksgiving. After all, holidays are about family and friends—not death.

In a letter dispatched to the President Bush, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk asks him to send this turkeypardonedyear’s “pardoned” turkeys, Pumpkin and Pecan, to a proper Washington, D.C.–area sanctuary rather than to Disneyland or a working farm, where pardoned turkeys are traditionally sent and where they usually die from their painful genetic defects within the first year — or even within days of arrival.

 

“You might be a lame duck,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a letter to Bush, “but you still have the power to help lame turkeys.”

 

In her letter, Ingrid points out that turkeys raised in factory farms are drugged and bred to grow so quickly that they are beset by painful, crippling injuries and deformities. Because of these problems, the birds’ lives are cut short by years and only a credible sanctuary can meet their critical medical needs. In addition to theme parks, other “pardoned” turkeys have been shipped to Kidwell Farm, a petting zoo at Frying Pan Park in Virginia, where many died within a year — and some within days — of arrival.

 

At least Bush’s turkey-pardoning ceremony was not the gruesome affair Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s was.

Erik Marcus over at Vegan.com has posted a great blog entry on Thanksgiving. Featuring tgrobinrmouthwatering recipes from vegan cookbook author Robin Robertson, this Thanksgiving menu is sure to please everyone from the die-hard vegan activist to the ardent carnivore (you know, that one grumpy uncle who’s always saying vegans only eat lettuce and tree bark).

 

Robin’s recipes include:

 

Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Curried Pecans
Roasted Wheatmeat with Oyster Mushroom and “Sausage” Stuffing
Stuffed Winter Squash (optional main dish)
Brown Gravy
Roasted Sweet Potato Sticks
Garlic Smashers
Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Relish
Ginger-Dusted Pumpkin Cheezecake

 

Man, I love Thanksgiving. At least the eating-vegan-goodies part.

 

Also, don’t forget to spend some time with turkeys at your local sanctuary this month!

 

 

 

 


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