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Turkey Talk on Thanksgiving

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Turkey Talk on Thanksgiving

[Ed. Note: Please visit Thanksgiving and Other Holiday Recipe Suggestions!]

From Veggie Happy
November 2012

”In 2011, more than 248.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 219 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter. Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.”

People often refer to Thanksgiving as “turkey day” because of the traditional holiday meal. With this in mind, we thought we’d talk some turkey. We offer some quick facts, a couple of stories, and a few menu ideas for a delicious Thanksgiving feast.

First, some quick facts.

From The National Turkey Federation: ”In 2011, more than 248.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 219 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter. Nearly 88 percent of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving.”

From the Humane Society of the United States (quoting a prominent poultry researcher:) ”Two decades ago the goal of every grower was to ensure that the flock grew as rapidly as possible. However, the industry has developed a broiler that, if grown as rapidly as possible, will achieve a body mass that cannot be supported by the bird’s heart, respiratory system or skeleton. The situation has forced growers to make a choice. Is it more profitable to grow the biggest bird possible and have increased mortality due to heart attacks, ascites, and leg problems, or should birds be grown slower so that birds are smaller, but have fewer heart, lung and skeletal problems?…A large portion of growers’ pay is based on the pound of saleable meat produced, so simple calculations suggest that it is better to get the weight and ignore the mortality.”

Now, some turkey rescue stories.

In 2001, we participated in a turkey rescue in Los Angeles that was coordinated by Farm Sanctuary. It was en emotional experience, gathering up 100 huge and frightened turkeys from an auto parts salvage yard, where they’d been set free for what was to be “The Great American Turkey Hunt,” allowing anyone who paid 25 cents the opportunity to take home the first one they were able to grab. (These birds had been purchased from a factory farm.) Animal control officials ordered the owner of the yard to cease and desist from the promotion just two days before it was to happen. Farm Sanctuary offered to rescue them and after some deliberation, the owner of the yard relented.

It was a harrowing experience, getting a hold of the frightened turkeys throughout the salvage yard. Due to factory farming, some of the turkeys were unable to walk due to the burden of the unnatural weight on their now broken legs, while others were very sick and needed immediate veterinary assistance. Ultimately, however, it was a heart warming experience, as all the volunteers helped to place the rescued birds on secured patches of hay inside a semi truck trailer headed to the Orland sanctuary. At the sanctuary, they’d be cared for and given a chance to live out the rest of their natural lives with plenty of space to roam and loads of love to go with it.

And finally, the great news.

You can go without a turkey and still experience a tasty, filling and traditionally themed Thanksgiving meal. There are plenty of great menus/recipes to choose from. The November/December issue of VegNews Magazine has several pages of holiday feast recipes (for a traditional meal, a gluten free meal and a decadent meal)along with photos that will make you salivate and want them ALL. We don’t see these features online yet, so pick one up from the news stands now.

Also, if you want to experience the taste and texture of turkey at the center of your plate, you can still do that with a store-bought, plant-based replacement. You’ll be amazed at how incredible these options are at fulfilling any appetite for turkey. Just look in the frozen foods section of your natural food market. (Large supermarket chains will have a few brands, as well.) Below are two of the options that we’ve enjoyed.

Field Roast has several holiday roasts to choose from. Note that all Field Roast products are also vegan. Find a local store that provides them by entering your zip code on their “Where To Buy” page.

From their website: ”Family feasts, holiday gatherings or a simple dinner for two; our Celebration Roast is the ultimate in vegetarian sophistication. We start with a rich and savory sausage-style stuffing made from Field Roast grain meat, fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms and granny smith apples seasoned with a blend of rosemary, thyme and sage. We then surround the stuffing with our most luxuriant grain meat seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic and lemon juice. As a centerpiece, appetizer or sliced in a sandwich, our Celebration Roast is perfect for any occasion. Available in both 1 lb & 2 lbs.”

Quorn is a brand from the U.K. It is a soy-free, mycro-protein loaf that has amazing similarity in taste and texture to white turkey breast. This product is not vegan as it contains some egg white. Available throughout the U.S.

You can also do an easy search for “Thanksgiving vegetarian recipes” online and you’ll have plenty of links and fabulous ideas to choose from.

Vegan feasts to satisfy your Thanksgiving cravings. Now, that’s something to be thankful for!