After meeting a turkey called Harriet at an animal sanctuary, vegan activist Rory Cockshaw decided to raise awareness about the plight of these gentle birds by running from dawn till dusk for almost eight hours on the 2022 winter solstice. The 21-year-old animal rights campaigner from Bristol, UK, turned vegan in 2020 (which prompted many of his family members to follow suit) and will be wearing a hat shaped like a turkey in memory of the turkeys slaughtered for Christmas dinner. He had turned vegetarian in the summer of 2019 before he walked into his first university event of the Vegan Society, in January 2020.

Rory said to The Mirror, “twelve million turkeys were slaughtered in total in the UK in 2021, and 16 million were killed in 2020. I don’t think that’s very Christmassy… I’ll be running from dawn to dusk in my turkey hat in memory of all the animals who will be killed this Christmas. I’m raising money for Viva, a vegan campaigning charity, because I believe the most effective way of helping turkeys is by helping consumers to realise that maybe we shouldn’t be eating turkeys. The best thing to do is to talk to people and help them realise that veganism is totally possible.”

Rory’s Christmas Run for Animals will take place from sunrise to sunset in Bushy Park, Richmond, London, UK, and will start at 8.05 AM on December 21 and will end at 3:54 PM. Rory said that a group will be running throughout the day, some just for part of the marathon, some walking and others taking on the full seven hours and 49 minutes. The inspiring run may also draw the attention of vegan animal protection organisations which may look at Rory as a potential campaigner to join their teams in the future. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.