Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday where families gather to give thanks for all the blessings of the past year. All the fuss and festivities of a holiday dinner with loved ones can be quite stressful and draining on those who prepare for days to make the dinner table “just so.” And let’s not forget the turkey – the centerpiece of a family Thanksgiving celebration – who gives his life to feed yours.
For the more adventurous, less traditional among us, there are other options.
About Farm Sanctuary
Visit the Farm Sanctuary website and you will be asked the thought provoking question: “Have you ever given a pig a belly rub… talked to a turkey… or kissed a cow?” Part of the mission at Farm Sanctuary is to raise public awareness about the plight of factory farmed animals. What better way to achieve this than by questioning commonly held beliefs and attitudes about the subject?
It goes without saying the vast majority of humans living today have never tickled a pig, conversed with a turkey, or planted a big, wet smooch on a cow’s forehead. Oh sure, it’s considered normal and commonplace to do that with a dog or a cat. After all, they are your pets, your family members or your significant others.
But is there really such a big difference between cats, dogs and farm animals? Turkeys, like cattle, pigs and other farm animals, can feel pain, pleasure, fear, and happiness, just the same as dogs and cats do. Why is it considered acceptable to treat some animals as pets and others as food or clothing?
Farm Sanctuary is bi-coastal. It has two farms — one in upper New York State and one in the California hillsides, south of Sacramento — where rescued animals live out their lives as nature intended with rolling pastures, good food, clean water and plenty of company … of all species.
Whether it’s a cow saved from the hell of factory dairy farming or an escaped pig on his way to a slaughterhouse, Farm Sanctuary rescues, vets, provides love, care and shelter for all animals lucky enough to find their way there. By showing each creature the respect it was born to have, Farm Sanctuary sets the bar. And yes, they do adopt out turkeys and goats and other animals to forever homes.
Would you like to do something different for Thanksgiving this year?
Since 1986 Farm Sanctuary has sponsored the annual Adopt a Turkey Project. Comedian and talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres is the spokesperson talking turkey this year. For a onetime $30 donation, anyone can sponsor a turkey. In return, you receive a certificate with a color photo of your adopted friend. This year Daphne, Harley, Velma, Jordan, Vima and Reese are the spokes-turkeys.
Another quaint tradition at Farm Sanctuary is the annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys. Resident turkeys are actually considered the guests of honor. People can feed the flock with cranberries, pumpkins and squash. The Saturday before Thanksgiving a gourmet vegan feast is served to attendees including tofurky roast, garlic mashed potatoes, squash, deserts and much more.
A tour of the farm is provided and various speakers will present. One of this year’s speakers at the Watkins Glen, N.Y., farm is Jonathan Balcombe, Ph.D., author of Pleasurable Kingdom and Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals. In Orland, Calif., John Salley, wellness guru, NBA champion, and devoted vegan is among the notable presenters.
So this is your opportunity to see what it’s like to tickle a pig, talk to a turkey and kiss a cow! Why not start a new family tradition this Thanksgiving? Take a look around Farm Sanctury.org and start humane education with your kids. It’s never too early – or late – to start.
Farm Sanctuary’s newest video Thanksgiving’s Toll on Turkeys is a good place to begin.
Connie Pugh, used with permission Farm Sanctuary.org