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The Farm Sanctuary — the American charity with animal sanctuaries in Los Angeles, CA, and Watkins Glen, NY — has initiated a petition calling on US President Joe Biden to send the turkeys he will pardon for Thanksgiving Day into their sanctuaries. This request is to guarantee they can spend the rest of their lives in peace and safety.

Normally, the turkeys pardoned by the White House in a traditional ceremony that goes back to 1987, are sent to farms, petting zoos or universities with poultry science programs. In these places, their safety would not be guaranteed, so it would be much safer to send them to animal sanctuaries run by vegans. 

The Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986, and this is their mission: “We pursue bold solutions to end animal agriculture and foster just and compassionate vegan living.”. If the president agrees, the birds will be truly safe, and they will have “the opportunity to dust bathe, feel grass beneath their feet, enjoy a robust social life, and receive personalized care.”

If you want to help you can sign the petition too. Some celebrities have already signed it: Billie Eilish, Joaquin Phoenix, Ricky Gervais, Alan Cumming, Rooney Mara and Mena Suvari, among others.

The story of the tradition of the Presidential turkey pardon is very much linked to animal agriculture propaganda and lobbying. The National Turkey Foundation has been presenting turkeys to the White House since 1947. To conserve grain for foreign aid campaigns, the Truman Administration of that year began promoting “Meatless Tuesdays” and “Poultryless Thursdays”. Turkey farmers did not like that, so they decided to gift free turkeys to the president. They have been influencing the White House ever since, making it complicit in the suffering of trillions of animals and the threat to the environment. Perhaps one day a president will promote “Poultryless America”, not only severing the corrupted ties with the animal agriculture industry, but pardoning all the turkeys, chickens, hens, and the rest of farm animals in the US.