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Harvest Compassion This Thanksgiving.

According to the National Turkey Federation, the average American consumes 17 pounds of turkey meat per year resulting in the slaughter of between 250 to 300 million turkeys every year, with more than 46 million killed during the Thanksgiving holiday period alone. Turkeys suffer at every step of the process – from being factory farmed in overcrowded conditions, genetically manipulated to grow extremely fast making it painful to walk, transported on trucks with no protection from the elements, hung shackled by their feet before slaughter, and often being fully conscious when killed. Click below for further information and what you can do.


Why not try and have an animal-friendly celebration instead? Click below for further information and what you can do. Read Rinpoche's advice to monks at Sera Je Monastery here.

If you haven't got any favourite turkey rescue places to donate to, please consider making a donation to help Lama Zopa Rinpoche's animals at the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, Nepal, who desperately need new accommodation.


When you sit down to give thanks with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, spare a thought for turkeys and other animals.

Factory Farming

Most farmed turkeys spend their entire lives crammed by the thousands inside huge, factory farm warehouses Each bird has only about three square feet of space and is unable to comfortably move or display natural behaviors. Under such stressful conditions, they peck and fight excessively. Instead of improving the birds’ living space, producers cut off the ends of their beaks and toes without anesthesia which can result in excessive bleeding, infections and death. For those who live, these mutilations are a source of continual pain for the birds and can make eating and walking difficult.

Modern turkeys have been genetically manipulated to grow super fast and are continually pushed beyond their biological limit. The strain of growing so quickly makes young birds susceptible to fatal heart attacks. It also causes them to suffer from crippling foot and leg problems. Turkeys have been bred to grow faster and heavier but their skeletons haven't kept pace. Commonly, the turkeys have problems standing, and fall and are trampled on.

Producers raise turkeys with abnormally large breasts which prevent them from mounting and reproducing naturally. As a result, artificial insemination is now the only means of reproduction on factory farms, where breeder birds are confined for months.


Turkeys are transported to slaughter at just 14 to 18 weeks of age. Workers often roughly grab turkeys by the legs and throw the birds into crates. The crates are stacked on the back of trucks and normally have open sides. These provide no protection from the elements so the birds are exposed to extreme weather conditions and may die of heat stress in the summer or freeze to death in the winter. Turkeys and other farm animals may be legally transported for up to 28 hours without food, water or rest.


According to Farm Sanctuary who have undertaken numerous rescues at slaughterhouses, “at the slaughterhouse, fully conscious turkeys are hung by their feet from metal shackles on a moving rail. The first station on most poultry slaughterhouse assembly lines is the stunning tank, where the turkeys' heads are submerged in an electrified bath of water. Stunning procedures are not monitored, and are often inadequate, leaving the fully conscious birds to continue along the slaughterhouse assembly line. Some slaughterhouses do not even attempt to render these birds unconscious, as turkeys and other poultry are specifically excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act, which requires that animals be stunned prior to slaughter.

After passing through the stunning tank, the turkeys' throats are slashed, usually by a mechanical blade, and blood begins rushing out of their bodies. Inevitably, the blade misses some turkeys, who then proceed to the next station on the assembly line: the scalding tank. Here, they are submerged in boiling hot water, and turkeys missed by the killing blade are boiled alive – a brutal end to a miserable existence on factory farms.”

You can change this

Rather than ending a life, please save one. You can spread compassion for turkeys and promote cruelty-free alternatives on Thanksgiving Day.

* Distribute handouts about factory farmed turkeys

* Coordinate a public cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner

* Host a private cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner

* Host a workplace feed-in

* Distribute vegetarian/vegan food samples

* Donate vegetarian/vegan food to a homeless shelter

* Ring a radio station and get the message out on the air

* Show a video (resources for videos include from Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, Mercy For Animals)

* Write a letter to the editor

Thanksgiving tradition is about celebrating life. Take action for turkeys everywhere, get vegan holiday recipes and join with other compassionate people in making a difference today!

Click here for delicious cruelty free recipes!

Click here to read what Lama Zopa Rinpoche has to say about Thanksgiving.


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