The tradition of chowing down on a big juicy turkey may be age-old, but the inhumane way many of these birds are treated is relatively new.
Since 1960, the weight of an average domesticated turkey has doubled -– a condition that leads these overstuffed animals to endure a number of health problems, including swollen joints and poorly developed lungs.
Now we don’t mean to rain on your holiday menu parade.
We just know that more than 46 million turkeys will be served on Thursday, and we want you to know how to find out if yours was raised in an ethical way and how to push for better treatment of our feathered friends.
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 Tom
who fell off of a transport truck this year and is thankful for "compassionate people like you (and pumpkin pie!)." Learn more about how you can get involved with the organization 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.
A number of major stars, including Paul McCartney and Ellen Degeneres
, are saying “No, Thanks to Turkey” this holiday season and are keeping their holiday menu completely vegan. If you’re considering not serving the bird, but still need some inspiration on what to whip up, check out what these super famous celebs will be eating here.
We always imagined after POTUS pardoned a turkey
, the lucky bird would slip on his swim trucks and skip off into the sunset. But unfortunately, birds bred for consumption are just too fat to stick around very long.
While at least giving a turkey a few more years to live may seem humane, activists say that the ritual “makes no sense.” A Change.org petition wants to put an end to the tradition since turkeys "have done nothing needing pardon, nor deserving death.” Learn more about the movement here.
Monty Rakusen via Getty Images
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.