Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, not cruelty. Here are five reasons to spare a turkey and enjoy a vegan feast instead:

1. Turkeys are gentle birds who like having their feathers stroked and gobbling along to music. Poultry scientist Tom Savage says, "I've always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings."

2. Factory-farmed turkeys are packed so tightly together in filthy sheds that flapping a wing is nearly impossible. To keep the birds from pecking one another in frustration, farmers cut off part of the birds' sensitive upper beaks with a hot blade - using no pain relievers.

3. At the slaughterhouse, these "true American originals" are hung upside-down and their throats are cut while they're still conscious. Many are scalded alive in the tanks of water used for feather removal.

4. Turkey flesh is high in fat and cholesterol, and it's frequently contaminated with salmonella bacteria. The use of antibiotics on factory farms contributes to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

5. Vegan foods are healthy, humane, and delicious. See www.PETA.org for holiday recipes and product suggestions.

Have a happy and humane Thanksgiving.

Heather Moore

PETA Foundation

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