11/24/2009 11:58 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

President Obama, Send Pardoned Turkeys to a Sanctuary, Not Disneyland

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I am writing to ask three things: 1) that you please send this year's pardoned turkeys to a credible sanctuary; 2) that in your speech at the pardoning ceremony, you acknowledge the millions of compassionate Americans who personally pardon turkeys every year by choosing a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal; and 3) that you invite PETA's chef to present a delicious cruelty-free Thanksgiving meal for you and your family, including Tofurky with all the trimmings, from corn bread to cranberries, and an all-American vegan apple pie with vanilla soy ice cream on top. The vegan meal would provide some balance to all the free publicity given to the turkey industry on this occasion.

As you may well know, Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be America's national bird. Franklin noted how courageous turkeys are, and today's animal behaviorists say that turkeys are indeed smart as well as loving, protective parents who will even sing along to classical music. However, turkeys raised on filthy factory farms are bred and drugged to grow so large so fast that they often suffer from painfully splintered leg bones and other debilitating conditions. During PETA's undercover investigations of some of our country's largest turkey factory farms, we have documented workers as they stomped on birds' heads, struck birds with pipes and pliers, and slammed birds against walls.

For years, the "pardoned" turkeys have been sent to places where they were neglected. Many are dead within a year of being pardoned. This year, please send the turkeys to a credible sanctuary that has experts in turkey behavior and care, like metropolitan Washington's own Poplar Springs Farmed Animal Sanctuary, where Sasha and Malia would be able to visit them, along with other rescued animals, and learn why it is important to be compassionate to animals.

Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from your staff soon. We wish you and your family a healthy and happy holiday season.

Kind regards,

Ingrid E. Newkirk