Talking Turkey

Submitted by Linda DeStefano

Translated by Rob English 

A lot of people don’t give much thought to the 45 million turkeys killed each year for Thanksgiving. Nor do many think about the 300 million turkeys who are killed each year for their plates. But also, many people have turned away from the cruelty of meat.

It really helps for some people to interact with animals in order to understand them as beings, not food.

Farm Sanctuary does this very well. At Farm Sanctuary, you notice how large and powerful cows are, and how gentle they are.

But it is the turkeys who affect people the most and change them. Turkeys get along with people as well as other birds.

Some people seem to want to close their eyes to the cruelty we inflict on turkeys. People do not want to think of the suffering of turkeys; they simply want to continue their celebration with a cruel tradition. Turkeys should be celebrated as the magnificent beings that they are.

Many do not know that a turkey can purr and that they love to be petted. A turkey hen can fall asleep in your arms. Having a relationship with a turkey must be encouraged to get people to care more about them. Since we do not live with turkeys, it is easier to dismiss them as live food.

Anyone who has been around them will have a hard time eating turkey after seeing how cute, smart and

peaceful they are. But even if an animal is not cute, smart or peaceful they are living creatures who deserve to live out their natural life. 

It’s been shown that people who slaughter animals for a living become desensitized to violence. People need to meet a turkey to get to know her/his unique personality. Some turkeys can even hug people. Turkeys can have affection for humans and other turkeys. They will fiercely protect their babies from harm.

We, as humans, need to do far better by turkeys than we currently are. Turkeys are bred to grow at an unnaturally fast rate, which puts great strain on their bones and organs which cannot support their overly huge breasts. Their beaks and toes are burned off . All this cruelty just so humans can eat their flesh and corporations can make the biggest bucks.

Humans will feel better mentally and physically by not eating turkeys, or any meat. They will also learn to see how wonderful turkeys are and that they, like us, hope to live and enjoy life.

If we could just step into their bird feet, we would stop seeing them as food.

Note: This is a summary of an article by Colleen Patrick Goudreau from the November 2006 edition of SATYA. 

For plant-based recipes or other information about moving toward a diet which doesn’t hurt animals, contact People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse, NY 13215-0358, or call (315) 488-PURR (7877) between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., or email Linda at,

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