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Animal welfare: 'Kill the tradition, not a turkey'

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Animal welfare: 'Kill the tradition, not a turkey' by Tree Elven on 13/11/2023
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Elaborate preparation and consumption of turkey is still a familiar aspect of both Thanksgiving in the USA and Christmas in the UK. This campaign out of Britain calls on all of us to question the tradition, using an animated turkey called Tessa who points out - via the voice of British actor Jane Horrocks - how absurd many of our Christmas practices are, before finding herself in line for a particularly cruel one. It's by The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation, a UK-based charity dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. It works to educate the public through peaceful means about the horrors of cruelty to animals. For this ad,it cites research by The Grocer publication which found that more than half of 1,500 young Brits polled believed turkey and all the trimmings was "old-fashioned", with 39% of the 18 to 30-year-olds declaring they would never eat turkey. Hence the tagline, it's time to "Kill the tradition, not a turkey". Horrocks - an acclaimed singer who can perform in the voices of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe and Billie Holiday among others - said: “I’m proud to be giving a voice to Tessa, a curious little turkey who questions why millions of birds are killed for the Christmas table each year when so many other options exist. I hope the spot encourages kind souls everywhere to explore vegan dishes that offer some peace on Earth to animals this festive season.” There are various theories as to how the turkey-eating tradition arose, including evidence that turkey was imported into the UK in the early 16th century, and that Henry VIII - he who had two of his six wives beheaded - was the first British monarch to enjoy the delicacy on Christmas Day. Spanish traders are understood to have brought turkeys that had been domesticated by indigenous Americans to Europe and Asia. The modern centrepiece of Christmas tables in Britain also dominates the Thanksgiving board in the USA, where turkeys were historically plentiful and it made sense to slaughter them for their meat as they were larger than other barnyard animals and did not produce milk or eggs. What do you think of the campaign? Does it make you think twice about your own choices this Christmas; is it a useful reminder about questioning lucrative narratives imposed by over-consumption; is it just another kill-joy attempt on what should be genuinely special occasions; is vegan really the best answer for our modern society?

Keywords: PETA Christmas 2023, Christmas ads 2023, Jane Horrocks commercial, veganism, Tessa the Turkey ad, animal welfare, meat-eating Britain, turkey consumption UK, House 337

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