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Thanksgiving’s Toll on Turkeys

By Jasmin Singer — November 17, 2010

Wild turkeys have more than 20 distinct vocalizations. Turkeys frequently recognize one another by their unique voices. They also have excellent geography skills, and can learn the specific details of an area of land up to about 1,000 acres. I, however, still sometimes get confused walking around a city I’ve lived in for over a third of my life.

These facts (well, minus the one about me) are thanks to Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project, which is one of my favorite campaigns ever. For those of you who are starting to feel the angst and sadness that is so common around Thanksgiving, a misrepresented holiday that has somehow become centered around dead animals, utilizing some of the tools that this campaign has can be an effective way to channel the icky feelings.

Courtesy Farm Sanctuary

In addition to actually adopting or sponsoring a turkey (and trust me, those certificates you get are a perfect addition to your family’s Thanksgiving table), and making some of the cruelty-free Thanksgiving recipes that their website boasts, you can also share one of the most important videos to be circulated this season…

According to the website, Thanksgiving’s Toll on Turkeys “exposes the truth behind commercial turkey production, explores why these sensitive, social animals are worthy of our protection and encourages viewers to adopt a new Thanksgiving tradition.”

Here’s how I myself used that video today:

The place where I get my eyebrows threaded (I know, I know…) sent out an email glibly saying “It’s almost TURKEY TIME!” and “Gobble gobble, enjoy your bird,” and other unfortunate things like that, which I of course found offensive and annoying. I emailed them a very positive, kind email (this is important folks, since if we are negative, people will shut us out), explaining that though I love the way they do eyebrows (my eyebrows are seriously fabulous), I do not appreciate being solicited with emails like this, and I am certainly not alone in abstaining from supporting such cruelty. I briefly explained that turkey production is not a laughing matter, and then I linked to the video (which Gmail then conveniently attached to my email — thanks, Gmail). I also pointed out that one of the reasons I patronize their establishment is because all of their products are cruelty-free, and they have a program where they donate a portion of their proceeds to non-profits for one day a week. It was an upbeat, accessible email, yet strong to my convictions, and hopefully made them open their eyes a little.

Will it affect them? I don’t know that. But since it frequently can take several “hits” of something before it sinks in, I like to think that even if this didn’t reach them, they heard me loud and clear, and maybe the next person they come across who advocates for animals will reach them, partly because I planted that seed.

So use this important video. Include it in your email signature, particularly around Thanksgiving. Share it on Facebook. Send it around to your family and then provide a yummy vegan dish so that they can see how truly delicious compassion can tatse.






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