Thanksgiving is just around the corner and since it is about gratitude, Friends of Animals thinks people should show their appreciation for turkeys and opt for a vegan menu this holiday. Turkeys are as intelligent as mammals and have a zest for living and turkeys raised for food never know the comfort of a mother bird’s wings or the joy of exploring the woods and fields with her. Here’s 10 facts that might make you change your mind about gobbling down turkey during your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow:

  • Three hundred million turkeys are killed in the U.S. each year, most for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • After only a few weeks, turkeys are moved to large, windowless sheds, which they share with thousands of other turkeys. 
  • At 5 to 6 months old, turkeys are sent to the slaughterhouse. In the wild, they can live to be 10 years old.
  • Turkeys are actually sensitive animals who have good and bad moods. You can tell what mood the male is in by the color of his throat and head. When a male is excited, his head turns blue and when a tom is about to get into a fight, his head turns red.
  • Turkeys are highly social, affectionate and love to play. They create long-lasting social bonds with each other and with humans. If you want proof, check out the videos of Cornelius, an especially cuddly turkey, on Esther the Wonder Pig’s Facebook page.
  • Turkeys stay close to their family and flock mates, sometimes traveling in the wild with groups of 200 or more.
  • In 1970, the average turkey raised for meat weighed 17 pounds. Today, turkeys average 28 pounds.
  • In the wild, these typically sleek birds are able to run up to 25 miles per hour and fly up to 55 miles per hour. But due to selective breeding, commercially raised turkeys are often unable even to walk more than a couple steps by the end of their brief lives.
  • Turkeys are actually quite intelligent. They are very good at geography and can learn the details of really large areas which is especially useful for finding food. Turkeys exhibit problem-solving behavior and are curious and inquisitive animals.
  • Wild turkeys sleep in trees away from predators — this is natural roosting behavior that even domesticated turkeys will try to do.


We hope you’ll consider joining countless other Americans in celebrating compassion for animals while doing something good for our own health this Thanksgiving by passing on the turkey. We can help you serve up some kindness with recipes for side dishes, main dishes and desserts . Here’s two of our favorite holiday side dish recipes and you can check out our very own vegan cookbooks available in our online store for more delicious, gourmet vegan recipes to try any time of the year. Click here to learn more.