Peaceful Thanksgiving

by Linda DeStefano
Translated by Rob English

In late November, friends will celebrate an early Thanksgiving at the home of a People for Animal Rights activist. This celebration has been a tradition for years. Everyone brings a vegan dish to share (although you need not be a vegan to attend), and music, poetry and conversation usually accompany the yummy and varied food. Before eating, we hold hands in a circle and share what we are grateful for.

There is also a yearly early Thanksgiving celebration at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. The event is described this way:

First, we’ll gather for a day of quality time with rescued cows, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and other animals against a backdrop of fall foliage. The highlight of the afternoon will of course be the annual Feeding of the Turkeys ceremony, which flips traditional Thanksgiving customs on their head; here, turkeys are never the entree and always the guests of honor! Guests will enjoy watching our turkeys indulging in a delicious feast of pumpkin pie, squash, cranberries, and kale salad.

As the sun begins to sink over the sanctuary, guests will take the short and picturesque drive to the Harbor Hotel on Seneca Lake for a gourmet vegan Thanksgiving feast, featuring special guest speakers.

The Celebration for the Turkeys is a welcoming, positive experience perfect for introducing your non-vegan/vegetarian friends and family members to Farm Sanctuary. Join us and start a new, compassionate Thanksgiving tradition!

Registration is $100 for adults and $60 for children 4-12. Children 3 and under are free. Attendance at this event is limited, so we encourage you to register today! For tickets, go to (if any available still).

Every year, more than 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving. Before slaughter, these birds typically endure the torments of a “factory farm,” where huge numbers of birds are crammed into tiny spaces and never enjoy natural behaviors (such as, scratching in the dirt or enjoying the sunshine). The tips of their sensitive beaks are removed without anesthesia. And it isn’t only the huge enterprises which can make a turkey’s life miserable – and short. An example comes from Farm Sanctuary. They relate rescue of a turkey and several chickens this way:

“Left to languish in filthy, unsafe conditions on a farm in upstate New York, baby turkey Daphne and a group of broiler chickens were confiscated by the local SPCA after a number of the birds in their flock wandered into the road and were hit by cars. As soon as we heard about the survivors’ plight, we sprang into action to help, giving refuge to Daphne and 15 chickens at our shelter in Watkins Glen.”

The birds were weak, filthy and needed medical attention. Happily, they received the expert care and love they needed. Farm Sanctuary provides a lifetime home to many rescued animals and also has an “Adopt a Turkey” program so they can make space for additional birds in need of a good home.

 You can find many vegan Thanksgiving recipes at You can also request a booklet of vegan recipes (although not necessarily geared to Thanksgiving) from the address below.

May you have a peaceful, compassionate, fun Thanksgiving!

This article was provided by Linda DeStefano, People for Animal Rights’ president. Request recipe booklet and People for Animal Rights newsletter at People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, or (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.