ACTON – Amid the countless turkey giveaways held this Thanksgiving, Los Angeles County’s vegan community is promoting a cruelty-free alternative to celebrating the holiday.
For those wanting to help turkeys instead of eating them, Farm Sanctuary sponsors an “Adopt a Turkey” campaign every November. For a one-time donation of $35, people can symbolically adopt a rescued turkey, or sponsor an entire flock for $150, allowing the animals to live out their natural lives at one of the group’s three spacious farms. Sponsors receive a certificate with their adopted turkey’s photo and bio, including their rescue story.
The rescue and advocacy group houses hundreds of farm animals at its three locations in the United States, including one in Acton, near the Antelope Valley. They’ve been sponsoring the program since 1986, and several of their rescued turkeys’ stories can be viewed at www.farmsanctuary.org/adopt-a-turkey.
Actors and vegan activists Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara recently visited the Acton sanctuary to promote the virtual adoption program.
“Turkeys are emotional, intelligent and social animals. It’s chilling that more than 68 million turkeys will be brutally slaughtered and eaten during the holiday months alone,” the pair said in a statement. “By adopting a turkey through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project, you are not only supporting the rescue of animals caught in the brutal factory farming industry, but you are also protesting animal agriculture’s immoral treatment of workers, and its dominating role in accelerating the climate crisis. In this season of giving, please join us in adopting a turkey, and leaving them off your plates.”
Farm Sanctuary will also hold an annual virtual Celebration for the Turkeys at noon on Saturday, Nov. 20, when viewers can watch the rescued turkeys at its Acton and Watkins Glen, New York, shelters “enjoy a seat at the table, instead of on it.” The event can be viewed at www.farmsanctuary.org/events/celebration-for-the-turkeys/.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 250 million turkeys are killed each year in the United Sates, with more than 46 million turkeys eaten on Thanksgiving. The National Turkey Federation says 88% of Americans surveyed eat a turkey for the holiday. But those looking to cook up a holiday dinner at home that provides the appropriately festive atmosphere without sacrificing the life of a turkey do have a number of choices.
Tofurky is one of the best options. The company, which makes a wide variety of plant-based foods, offers an oven-ready, stuffed roast for Thanksgiving made of soy and wheat, with wild rice and bread-crumb stuffing. Tofurky products are sold at many supermarkets in LA County. Customers should call ahead to ensure their specific store carries it. The roasts can also be found online starting at $13.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offers a free holiday guide with vegan recipes, shopping tips, and advice for answering challenging questions that could come up at the dinner table. It’s available at www.peta.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/peta-thanksvegan-guide.pdf.
Other vegan recipes for the holiday can be found at:
PETA’s second annual “ThanksVegan” campaign is encouraging people to give turkeys a break this holiday, with the ThanksVegan logo popping up at vegan restaurants across LA County. Catie Cryar, assistant manager at PETA, said the group has spent more than $100,000 on billboards, bus shelter and TV ads and vegan roast giveaways among other efforts. The ThanksVegan logo can be found at Vallarta supermarkets, and PETA reminds shoppers that they can find ready-to-roast vegan turkeys at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Kroger, Sprouts and Whole Foods.
According to PETA, vegan meat sales increased by 148% in 2020 compared to the year before, and 47% of Americans stated that they wanted to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet in 2021.
“Once people realize that turkeys feel pain and fear, love their families, and value their own lives, they’re eager to leave these gentle birds off the table — and studies indicate that we’re on track for the most vegan Thanksgiving yet,” PETA said.