The holidays can be rough for those of us who care about animals that are not traditionally thought of as pets. Thanks to my little turkey rescue tradition, Thanksgiving is a time when I get to share with the world how delightful turkeys can be if they are given a chance.
I met my first turkey back in the year 2000. I was visiting the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland, and was introduced to Olivia, who had been rescued from a factory farm. As I sat on the grass, she hobbled over to me — hobbled because the ends of her toes had been cut off. “De-toeing” is standard industry practice. As I began to pet her she moved herself into my lap. She soon fell asleep and I fell in love.
Eight years later I was given the opportunity to foster two turkeys who had come into the hands of some activists right before Thanksgiving. That was one of the loveliest experiences of my life, and the media loved it, so my Thanksgiving turkey rescue has become an annual event.
All through early November, folks wander past our home asking when the turkeys will be arriving. People love seeing and hearing them behind our picket fence and the kids love coming in to pet them. I suspect Tofurky sales have gone way up in our neighborhood since I began my annual rescues.
This year I have the honor of introducing the world to two beautiful girls who I have named Venus and Serena, after the extraordinary athletes who have helped smash the myth that we need to eat animal protein in order to be strong.
Venus and Serena Turkey will spend the Thanksgiving feast here as the guests of honor before moving to Farm Sanctuary to live out their lives in safety. I’ll make a classic Thanksgiving feast, with veganized versions of all of the standard offerings, from butternut squash soup through to pumpkin and pecan pie. The only turkey on the table will be a nice big bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon. It’s gives hot apple cider the perfect kick.
I hope you enjoy this year’s little turkey rescue video. It may inspire you or some of your family members to explore plant-based options for your holiday feast. And perhaps you’ll do something to help turkeys, like donate to one of the groups that documents farm animal cruelty or spreads the vegan message. There are many ways to make Thanksgiving into a truly joyous celebration. Turkey Day is loads of fun when the turkeys are alive and well.
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