A Vegan Gives Ten Reasons to Skip the Turkey This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wondrous and joyful occasion; 24 hours of food, family and football with no agendas, no schedules and no obligations. Besides, a holiday revolving around gratitude and giving thanks is basically the best idea ever.

But while turkey is the traditional centerpiece for an American table (hence the colloquial moniker: Turkey Day), it's 2014, and about time we kicked that antiquated concept to the curb and embraced a plant-strong, turkey-free Thanksgiving table.

Here are 10 reasons to skip the bird this November 27th.

See also: Six Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving

10. There are tons of super-delish alternative options.

Seriously you guys, this is 2014, and the turkey replacements get better every year. There's Gardein's Holiday Roast; Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast; Field Roast's Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute, Celebration Roast and Forager's Roast; Tofurky's Vegetarian Feast and loads of others. Not to mention, you could opt for a stuffed acorn squash, a veggie lasagna, a Veggieducken or just stuff yourself silly with all the delicious sides. So many choices!

9. Adopting a turkey is way more satisfying than eating one.

Most of the sanctuaries have turkey adoption programs (including Florida's own Kindred Spirits and the famous Farm Sanctuary!). Just think, you could be the benefactor to a lucky bird, insuring they live a healthy, happy existence instead of winding up on someone's plate. How amazing is that? Good karma for life.

8. Turkeys want to be your bud.

They may not seem as cute and cuddly as their mammalian brethren, but turkeys are actually really friendly and curious. They're intelligent, sensitive, highly social and very affectionate. In the words of Portia de Rossi, "Turkeys are just as smart and loving as my dogs." Visit turkeys in sanctuaries, and a lot of them are into hugs and snuggles.

7. Skipping meat is good for the planet.

In the words of Moby: "Animal agriculture is responsible for producing more climate change gases than every car, boat, bus, truck, motorcycle and airplane on the planet. Combined." Yes, really.

6. Skipping meat is good for your body.

Did you know that going plant-based has been shown to prevent (and even reverse) heart disease, Diabetes, cancer, obesity? Just ask Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell or the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. Overall, vegans have much lower rates of obesity, diabetes and some cancers. But even going meatless every once in awhile is better for you than the alternative.

5. Skipping meat is good for the turkeys.

Every year, more than 45 million turkeys lose their lives for Thanksgiving. It's an ugly business, and doesn't give the turkey population much to be thankful for.

4. If you knew where your turkey came from, you probably wouldn't eat it.

I don't want to ruin anyone's day, but the horrors of turkey production are pretty, well, horrible. Mass-produced turkeys have their beaks and toes are chopped (without anesthesia) and are bred to grow unnaturally large as quickly as possible. They live in their own waste, jammed together and pumped full of antibiotics. Some birds have heart attacks and die from the stress, while others peck each other to death. They're slaughtered at 12 weeks old. The slaughter process is too awful for me to write about, but this cartoon sums it up.

3. If one gets pardoned, shouldn't they all?

Everyone loves the super-cute song and dance that goes with the presidential turkey pardon. Last year, Obama spared two turkeys -- Caramel and Popcorn. But seriously folks, don't we want to spare more than one lone bird?

2. There are plenty of places to eat out, meat-free.

There are tons of spots serving tasty, turkey-free Thanksgiving meals, so you can skip slaving over a hot stove, and all the hassle that comes with cooking a bird from dawn till dusk. Let someone else do the work for you.

1. Because this turkey with yam on its beak.

They like to chow down on Thanksgiving, just like the rest of us. Give 'em a break this year, why don't you?

Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.

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Hannah Sentenac covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. In addition to the Miami New Times, she's written for Live Happy magazine, Paste magazine, Thive magazine, and Hannah is also editor-in-chief of
Contact: Hannah Sentenac