This image shows a turkey looking off to the side.

During the holiday season, many church communities gather together to think of ways for members to bring joy to their neighbors, and for decades, giving away turkeys has been considered a way to do that. Although well-intentioned, this tradition supports the abuse and slaughter of gentle, sensitive individuals. Instead of inflicting suffering on others, why not honor God with compassion for all?

What’s Wrong With Giving Away Turkeys?

In the U.S., more than 46 million turkeys are killed every year for Thanksgiving alone. The vast majority of them live in severely crowded, stressful conditions inside dark warehouses, where they’re forced to stand in their own waste and inhale ammonia-laden air. Genetic manipulation—a vile tool used by the meat industry to tamper with God’s work so that the birds grow unnaturally large very quickly—causes many of them to become crippled under their own weight and unable to breathe properly. They’re deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them and slaughtered when they’re just 3 to 5 months old. They’re typically slaughtered in mass-processing facilities, where workers slit their throats, often while they’re still conscious, and some of them are still alive when they’re submerged in defeathering tanks full of scalding-hot water. There’s nothing kind about any of this, and it’s an outrageous affront to God. These intelligent, feeling individuals are treated as if they were a mere commodity good for nothing but to turn a profit, and their one God-given life is callously and violently ended out of insatiable greed. That’s murder, and doesn’t God instruct us not to kill? There are better ways to celebrate the holidays than by supporting this horrific cruelty.

What Are Some Better Options?

Compassionate, affordable, and delicious choices abound, including these popular roasts:

Field Roast Celebration Roast

Gardein Plant-Based Turk’y Roast

Tofurky Plant-Based Roast & Wild Rice Stuffing

Tofurky Plant-Based Ham Style Roast with Amber Ale Glaze

For an alternative to roasts, you could provide the ingredients for a delicious shepherd’s pie. This 10-ingredient, one-hour recipe for a crowd-pleasing main course is so affordable and hearty that it may just become a staple in your community’s culinary repertoire!

Organizing an Animal-Friendly Giveaway

Switching to a vegan roast giveaway is not only simple and compassionate but also inclusive. Everyone, including those with vegan, vegetarian, or cholesterol-conscious family members, can enjoy the feast.

Pope Francis declared, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity.” You could write this message of love and respect for other sentient beings or a quote about sharing God’s love with everyone on a card to include with your giveaway, along with some wonderful, fun facts about turkeys. Doing so would elevate your holiday celebration into a truly meaningful event that would help save lives through compassionate giving.

As people of faith who seek to bring God’s love to others, it is critical that we choose kindness this holiday season and every day. By acting with intention and care, we can celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas without harming anyone. In doing so, your church can lead the way, charting a path toward the more perfect, loving world God calls upon each of us to help create.

If your church will be giving away vegan roasts or other animal-free options instead of turkeys this holiday season, please let us know! Write to us at [email protected].

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