This Thanksgiving, a group of notable celebrities, including Mayim Bialik, Jane Lynch, and Alicia Silverstone, are breaking tradition and pledging to go turkey-free in collaboration with the animal welfare organization Farm Sanctuary. 

The stars are lending their support to Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project, raising awareness about the widespread cruelty faced by turkeys during the annual holiday. Roughly 245 million turkeys are raised and slaughtered every year in the United States, but they reach peak popularity at Thanksgiving when more than 46 million turkeys die in the lead-up to the holiday.

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Alan Cumming, Madelaine Petsch, Ashley Jackson, Jane Lynch, Richa Moorjani, Nikki Glaser, Corey Feldman, Langhorne Slim, and Jackson Galaxy are also among the prominent figures who have committed to a turkey-free celebration, joining a long list of A-listers who have endorsed Farm Sanctuary’s cause in previous years. 

Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin, Kristen Bell, Kaley Cuoco, Ellen DeGeneres, Billie Eilish, Natasha Lyonne, Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Sarah Silverman, and Rainn Wilson have all taken the pledge to forgo the traditional Thanksgiving turkey.

Celebrities adopt turkeys

Farm Sanctuary’s Turkey-Free Pledge—available for anyone to sign on the organization’s website—is a heartfelt commitment to “leave turkey off [the] holiday plate.” By doing so, individuals express their objection to the exploitation of turkeys in the industrial food system, where they are treated as products and endure systematic abuse. 

The pledge also calls for support for a fair and sustainable food system that considers the welfare of animals, workers, communities, and the planet.

In a series of Instagram videos, Corey Feldman shared his personal connection with the cause, revealing how he first adopted a turkey to save its life 16 years ago. The actor emphasized the affectionate and sweet nature of the turkeys he encountered on the farm, likening their personalities to dogs or cats. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Farm Sanctuary (@farmsanctuary)

Madelaine Petsch echoed Feldman’s sentiments, encouraging viewers to have a “more compassionate holiday” through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey program. Petsch shared that her father had been adopting a turkey on her behalf for the past decade, making the advocacy a longstanding tradition in her family.

Travis Barker’s vegan Thanksgiving

At the same time, other celebrities are endorsing a turkey-free Thanksgiving in other ways. Earlier this month, Kourtney Kardashian celebrated her husband Travis Barker’s 48th birthday by throwing him a vegan Thanksgiving dinner.

In a series of posts shared on her Instagram Story, Kardashian offered a glimpse at the dinner table adorned with decorations, which included a personalized menu and a Thanksgiving food-themed tablescape, along with an all-vegan food spread. 

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“Vegan Thanksgiving for my baby’s birthday,” Kardashian posted on Instagram. 

A sneak peek at the menu items being served included vegan mac and cheese and pumpkin pie, along with gluten-free stuffing and sweet corn casserole. 

Alternatives to traditional turkey dinner

Adding to the significance of this movement, a recent resurgence of bird flu, officially known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, has impacted commercial poultry farms across the country. The US Department of Agriculture reports that more than 60 million chickens, turkeys, and other birds have been lost to the disease since 2022.

In light of these challenges, the celebrities supporting Farm Sanctuary’s pledge believe it’s time to say “no more” to the systemic abuse of turkeys and the treatment of these sentient beings as unfeeling products by the industrial food system.

Turkeys are highly intelligent and sensitive birds. In fact, they also have incredible emotional intelligence. They express empathy for other birds, form lasting social bonds, display affection, and even purr when they feel content and comforted. 

In addition to symbolically adopting a turkey through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project, there are ways to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without eating turkey. For ideas, see our guide to The Best Vegan Roasts For Your Plant-Based Thanksgiving, or try one of these 18 vegan restaurants that will cook your Thanksgiving dinner for you. 

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