This Thanksgiving, Adopt-A-Turkey – Instead of Eating One!
Originally published in Animal World magazine
Back in 1784, when the United States was a brand new country, Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, not the bald eagle, to be the national bird. Franklin called the turkey "a Bird of Courage" who would defend our land against any British soldier "who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on." If this pioneering American patriot, statesman, scientist, inventor, publisher, author (and aspiring vegetarian) held turkeys in such high regard, then why doesn't everyone?
Were Franklin somehow able to travel to the present day in a time machine (probably of his own design), he would make a prime candidate for Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey Project. Started in 1986, this unique program allows people to welcome rescued turkeys into their homes and yards, or to financially sponsor turkeys living at the sanctuary. Over the years, Farm Sanctuary has saved the lives of more than a thousand turkeys, and placed several hundred with loving vegetarian families through this compassionate campaign.
In addition to being able to provide the shelter, space and special care turkeys need in order to thrive, Farm Sanctuary requires potential turkey parents to be vegetarian to ensure these animals are respected as individuals and are raised in an emotionally-secure environment. While an omnivore may be able to develop feelings for a specific bird, Farm Sanctuary maintains that a vegetarian who doesn't eat any animal flesh shows an ability to respect and connect with all turkeys – as a species, and as beings who have an inherent right to live freely instead of being killed for food. Such ethical consistency and consciousness is essential to truly caring for animals who are traditionally seen as little more than something to eat rather than someone to love.
While commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle is a prerequisite for adoptions, anyone can sponsor a turkey living at Farm Sanctuary, no matter what their diet, because all of Farm Sanctuary's on-site caregivers are vegan. Maybe you're one of the many millions of people who love animals, but for whatever reason still eats meat. Well then, you are precisely the kind of person Farm Sanctuary is reaching out to, in hopes that when you sponsor a turkey and learn about who she is through a certificate detailing her life at the sanctuary, you will be motivated to make different dietary choices.
Farm Sanctuary offers another excellent way to get to know turkeys up close and personal during their annual Celebration FOR the Turkeys, hosted at both their New York and California shelters every Thanksgiving. This inspirational event includes a chance to hand-feed turkeys a delicious plant-based holiday meal, presentations by notable animal advocates, and a voluptuous vegan feast with all the trimmings for the whole family. The Celebration FOR the Turkeys is both a great way to honor our fabulous feathered friends and have a whole lot of fun.
To learn more, and see the turkeys up for adoption and sponsorship, visit Farm Sanctuary's brand new Apopt-A-Turkey Project web site at adoptaturkey.org.