Archer, a resident turkey, lives at Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge in North Carolina. Photo by Piedmont Refuge

It’s never too late to bring more compassion to your holiday celebrations. Whether you call it Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, ThanksLiving or ThanksVegan, we encourage you to celebrate with kindness. We understand that it can be difficult knowing where to begin so we compiled a list of compassionate ways to participate in the holiday

  1. Consider leaving turkey (and all animals) off of your table this year.

Millions of turkeys are inhumanely raised and killed each year to be eaten on this holiday. We urge you to choose the compassionate route this year by leaving turkey off your menu. Making this simple decision will help reduce the demand and sends the message that you vote with your dollars. Luckily, plenty of scrumptious alternatives make this an easy decision to make. Whether you’re in the mood to cook up an entree or you simply want to purchase one, there are options! Try Aldi’s affordable and pre-made Earth Grown Meatless Turkey Breast or this Homestyle Lentil Loaf by Plant-Based Gabriel. Need more ideas? One Green Planet compiled 30 different plant-based entrees to try out instead of turkey, chicken, or ham.

2. Support and sponsor a rescued turkey.

Around this time of year, many animal sanctuaries use this opportunity to gather financial support for the beloved rescued turkeys and other animals in their care. While there are many animal refuges out there, unfortunately not all of them are reputable, so we urge you to research them first before donating.  We suggest checking out the turkey sponsorship programs at Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, Animal Place, and Vine Sanctuary.

3. Spread the word about the work your local animal sanctuary does to save and care for rescued farm animals.

Farm animal sanctuaries do incredibly important work for the vegan movement by rescuing animals from awful, tragic living situations whether that’s in a negligent owner’s care or a factory farm. This is the perfect time to support their work. While supporting sanctuaries financially may not be in the cards for you, you can still support them by spreading the word about farm animal sanctuaries on your social media pages and educating your family and friends. Whether that means sharing a refuge’s adorable photographs of happy turkeys, chickens, cows, pigs, goats, and more from refuges or sharing a link to their website, it’s a great way to support all that they do. It is also a wonderful reminder for everyone who chooses to not eat animals, why we make that choice three times a day!

4. Share your favorite plant-based dish with others.

If you are destined to share a table with mostly omnivores, this is one subtle, non-intrusive way to show your love for all things vegan without screaming it at the top of your lungs. Sharing vegan food is a great way to introduce folx to dishes they may not go out of their way to try. This also gives you a chance to show friends and family that veganism won’t prevent them from enjoying mouthwateringly tasty foods and that vegan food is actually delicious! Who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire them to add more plant-based foods into their diet!

Once it is safe to do so, please take some time to visit a rescued farm animal sanctuary near you. The full list here.