Oct 3 2010

Thanksgiving Options

The kids are back in school, Halloween costumes are being contemplated and Thanksgiving stress is starting to kick in.

I know I won’t be partaking in the ‘coveted by carnivores’ bird, but I really don’t even want to be around it.

I haven’t come up with a solution yet. Options include hosting a vegan Thanksgiving dinner (I’m guessing most would likely pass), or perhaps getting out of town in search of like-minded, fellow forgoers of the bird.

In the meantime, I’m finding some great ideas other people have come up with.

For longtime vegan Karen Dawn, eating turkeys on Thanksgiving isn’t an option. So last year, Dawn started a new tradition, inviting live turkeys into her Pacific Palisades home to celebrate the holiday along with her human guests. She adopted two turkeys otherwise destined for slaughter, Bruce and Emily, who lived the high life in the Palisades for a few weeks before being “retired” to the Acton-based Animal Acres sanctuary for rescued farm animals.

This Thanksgiving, Dawn continued the tradition, purchasing two turkeys — she named them Monty and Marsha — that very nearly ended up on someone’s table rather than at someone’s table. “Why shouldn’t vegans have ‘Turkey Day’?” she wondered. That’s a question that Dawn has clearly been able to answer for herself: This year, she welcomed about 20 human guests for a vegan feast, the only turkeys in sight being Monty, Marsha and a bottle of Wild Turkey for good measure.

Because Monty and Marsha were, quite understandably, filthy after their close call at a slaughterhouse, baths for both were Dawn’s first order of business upon getting them home. (“As I drove home on the freeway with them crated in the car, I had every window open,” she told Unleashed, “yet I still retched with every breath.”)

Fortunately for all, the birds actually remained calm during the bathing, and they seemed to relish the blow-drying they received after it was over. “I think they understood very quickly that they were somewhere safe,” Dawn says.

Monty and Marsha attended their rescuer’s Thanksgiving dinner as honored guests, and they’ll remain at her home until they too are sent to live at an area farm-animal sanctuary.  A “retirement ceremony” for the two at the Santa Clarita-based Gentle Barn is scheduled for Dec. 6, during which Dawn will also read from her book, “Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals.”

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