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Opinion: Align the Season’s Spirit on Your Thanksgiving Plates

Minnow, saved from a dog meat farm and best friend, Blossom, saved from an industrial turkey farm. (Photo by Angel Lugo/The Humane League.)

Two lucky North Carolina turkeys, Bread and Butter, were pardoned by the White House this Thanksgiving. But what about the millions of other turkeys who weren’t so lucky?

In the U.S., 9 billion animals are raised for food on factory farms each year, 45 million of them are turkeys to be eaten on Thanksgiving.

Turkeys are crammed by the thousands into dark, windowless sheds on farms all across North Carolina. They are bred to grow so unnaturally large, so fast, that their bodies often cannot support their own weight. They suffer tremendously before they are shipped off to a brutal slaughter to end up on our dinner plates.

These are sentient animals, just like your dogs and cats at home. They love to snuggle, play and form close relationships with those around them.

While we’re celebrating compassion and hoping for peace this holiday season, we can live out these ideals on our plates, too. People of all ages, and nonprofits like The Humane League, advocate for animal-free celebrations and research shows that 30% of Americans would try a meat-free Thanksgiving.

Whether you replace the whole meal or a few dishes, we can all reduce the amount of suffering in our world. For meat-free Thanksgiving ideas, visit Eating Veg or check out The New York Times guide to a vegan Thanksgiving.

The turkeys in grocery stores this year have already suffered and died, but we can vote with our dollars to benefit animals in the future. We can decrease demand for turkeys raised in these cruel and unnecessary ways. I hope you’ll join me in truly making the world a more peaceful place this Thanksgiving.

Kelsey Joseph is a senior regional field organizer with The Humane League in the Charlotte area.

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