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Can you go without Turkey this year?

Thanksgiving is only a few days away and the supermarkets are bursting at the seams with all things “gobble-gobble”.

Did you know that 45 million turkeys will be eaten over the Thanksgiving Holiday? Unfortunately, most of them were raised in deplorable conditions on factory farms. Although the turkey’s natural lifespan is about 10 years, these animals are slaughtered as babies at only 14 weeks of age. In addition, since they have been genetically bred to produce as much meat as possible, their bones cannot sustain this rapid growth, and they live in agony. Many have crippled legs that are unable to bear the weight of their abnormally large frames. Many can’t make it to food or water and die of starvation or dehydration. Not to be gross, but imagine how much excess waste these 45 million animals are producing? This holiday influx wreaks havoc on local environments, potentially affecting air quality and waterways.


Don’t let the advertising of “no antibiotics” fool you.


In the US, it is illegal to use antibiotics in the poultry industry…so they are not lying when they say “no antibiotics ever“. That is true, but it is because it is illegal, not because it is altruistic.



Imagine an average suburban daycare center. Let’s say a 40 x 40 square-foot classroom houses about 25 toddlers on a regular day. Now imagine that you packed 400 toddlers into that same space, so close together that the children would have limited ability to move about freely. Now imagine that, not only are these toddlers sitting together in the space, but they are pooping, peeing, throwing up, and blowing their mucousy noses all over each other in the space. For MONTHS. What would happen? Well, controlling the poop would be one of the issues. What would you do with all of it? The fumes from all of the pee would burn their lungs, causing infection and more mucus, and sitting in pee would cause open sores on their skin, which would become infected from contact with all of the poop.


In short, the toddlers would get sick! Very sick!


So how do we stop them from getting sick in these deplorable conditions? We’d have to use a lot of drugs and chemicals to keep bacteria and disease from taking over, right?


Well, that’s exactly what happens on factory farms. It is not unusual on a commercial turkey farm to confine about 10,000 animals in a space roughly half the size of a football field. To control this extreme environment of pests, parasites, bacteria, and viruses, they have to dose the animals with drugs, and employ all sorts of chemical tactics, simply to keep them alive long enough to kill them.


These drugs may not be antibiotics but they are chemicals and they are used by the barrel full. They have to be! It is impossible to contain that many living creatures, regardless of species, in a space that small, for that period, without using buckets of chemicals and bacteria killers.


And where does all of that stuff go... the drugs, chemicals, poop, pee? The answer is simple. Into the animals and into the environment.


The air, the soil, the water…


And what are all these chemicals doing to the farmers that are exposed to them?


There are many questions to consider when contemplating our decisions and choice.


So what can we do?


Many companies have created surprisingly tasty turkey alternatives that won’t leave you missing the meat.


Tofurkey Plant-Based Roast and Gardein Holiday Roast are two wonderful options to consider. The texture and taste of both are remarkably close to the real thing, and each comes with an incredible gravy that would be indistinguishable as vegan to any palette.



Tofurkey brand even has two ham options to choose from!


But wait! Let’s not forget about the best part of any holiday feast… the sides!


Anytime butter is called for in a recipe, try Miyoko’s European Style Vegan Butter. It is by far the best butter alternative on the market!


And what would a holiday be without eggnog? Silk and Califia both offer thick creamy eggnog alternatives that are made from oat or almond. With all of these wonderful alternatives, there is no reason to feel like you have to sacrifice your favorite goodies on Thanksgiving! This year, consider starting a new holiday tradition!




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