Thanksgiving for the Turkeys

Every year Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen (near Ithaca, New York) invites people to celebrate Thanksgiving in a fun and compassionate way. Instead of eating turkeys, people enjoy feeding the turkeys who live at the sanctuary. The turkeys are the honored guests. To learn more, contact Farm Sanctuary at (607)583-2225 or go to

Most turkeys are not so lucky. Each turkey is raised to produce the maximum meat and thus is unnaturally fat – unlike the wild turkeys, who have normal body weight and behavior. The excess weight from genetic manipulation causes deformities since the skeleton and legs can’t properly support the body. The turkeys are susceptible to heart disease, and their bloated bodies prevent them from even breeding naturally. The females are subjected to artificial insemination.

After a very short life of misery and crowding, they suffer a frightening trip to the slaughterhouse. They are packed into open crates, and some die from cold in the winter or heat in the summer before they even reach their gruesome destination. Once at the slaughterhouse, the birds are dumped onto a conveyor belt. Once inside, fully-conscious individuals are hung from their feet by metal shackles on a moving rail. Stunning is not required by law. Their throats are slit but the automatic blade system misses some of the turkeys, who then are immersed in the scalding tank – still alive. The pain and terror is extreme.

People who visit Farm Sanctuary, as I have, can meet these impressive birds living the good life. I hope some of you reading this will spare a turkey this Thanksgiving and enjoy a Tofurkey Roast (available at several stores in Syracuse) with delicious vegan trimmings.

For recipe ideas, contact me at People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, 488-PURR(7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. or

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