Updated on Nov. 21, 2012 at 7:35 p.m.
President Obama pardoned two turkeys on Wednesday, but the leader of the free world isn’t the only one with the power to protect our feathered friends this Thanksgiving.
More than 46 million of the traditional holiday bird will be served on Thursday, according to the industry group National Turkey Federation, and no matter what you’ll be eating at your festive feast –- you can advocate for turkeys. Whether carnivore or vegan, you can make sure that, at the very least, these birds are treated humanely and get a chance to feel the grass against their feet.
Click through the slideshow below to learn five ways you can fight for turkeys this Thanksgiving.
Adopt a feather-y bird from the Farm Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabilitates animals it saves from stockyards, factory farms, and slaughterhouses. Your $30 will help sponsor the sanctuary's efforts and you'll get an Adopt-A-Turkey certificate, complete with a photo of your bird. Consider saving Skipwho says: "Remember me, skip the turkey!" Learn more here.
While the president has the power to pardon one turkey from getting eaten on Thanksgiving, activists say the tradition should be banned. A Change.org petition urges supporters to see how turkeys "have done nothing needing pardon, nor deserving death" and, instead, encourages the White House to sit down to a plant-based meal over the holiday. Learn more here.
Following a 2008 undercover investigation of Aviagen Turkeys, Inc. –- a leading poultry breeding company -- PETA learned that its employees were committing a number of cruel practices, including stomping on turkeys’ heads and holding them under water. Learn more about the investigation that led to the conviction of three employees here.
If you don't have plans to go veggie this Thanksgiving, try to purchase a turkey that was treated humanely during its lifetime. When you see the "Certified Humane Raised and Handled" label, that means that the bird met the organization's standards for kind treatment. It felt the grass beneath its feet, ate a healthful diet, wasn't subjected to hormones or confined to a cage. Want to help the organization continue its advocacy work? Donate here.
In addition to singing about blackbirds, former Beatle Paul McCartney is standing up for turkeys this season. In his PETA print ad, the vehement vegetarian sports a T-shirt that reads “Say No, Thanks To Turkey.” To make a Thanksgiving meal like the famed singer's, you may want to pick up a copy of his "The Meat Free Monday Cookbook."