It’s almost Thanksgiving, a time for thankfulness, togetherness, and reflection. For many animal advocates, it’s also a painful reminder of the many turkeys who are slaughtered to feed U.S. consumers for the holiday; in fact, research puts the number at around 37 million.

More turkeys are slaughtered around Thanksgiving than any other time of year. And while it’s devastating to think about so many animals having their lives taken just to be the crown jewel of the Thanksgiving table, we must continue to recognize the millions of turkeys and other animals who are slaughtered every other day of the year. And when it comes to animals like chickens and fishes, the numbers are shocking.

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Just How Many Animals Die to Feed Us? 

According to Faunalytics’ most recent global slaughter statistics, over nine billion land animals and over four million tonnes of fish were slaughtered in 2018 alone. Previously in this series, I discussed our list of the top 10 animal products that cause the most deaths to feed the U.S. population daily. But this was just part of the picture, as there are more than 10 animal products consumed in the U.S. each day. Below you’ll find our newest Animal Product Impact Scale, which shows the top 3 animal-derived food products per category that cause the most deaths to feed the U.S. every day:

The top three products that cause the most animal deaths to feed the U.S. population per category.

There’s a lot to unpack here. As you can see, nearly 68 million animal lives are taken each day that the U.S. eats all 24 of these products. This includes hundreds of thousands of turkeys who are killed each day to make other turkey products that are actually more popular, and consumed more often, than a big turkey dinner. This means it’s important to keep turkey off your plate on Thanksgiving, but it’s just as important to cut out other turkey products like sausages and luncheon meat throughout the year.

Choose Reduction This Thanksgiving

After hearing how many innocent turkeys are killed on a daily basis in the U.S., perhaps your loved ones will agree to skip this year’s Thanksgiving turkey and choose a more humane option (like a mouth-watering, black bean chili pot pie). However, if your friends and family refuse to give way to new holiday traditions, never fear: remember that reduction is for everyone, and there is more than one way to reduce your meat consumption on Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas:

  • Say no to stuffing: Many stuffing recipes call for ground beef, which costs 22,000 lives per day of consumption in the U.S., or turkey sausage, which costs 20,000 lives. Instead, try a quinoa and acorn squash stuffing packed with plenty of savory spices.
  • Switch from eggs to “veggs”: Thanksgiving appetizers and sides often feature eggs, such as deviled eggs (this one was always a staple on my family’s Thanksgiving table). This year, switch the recipe to “deviled veggs” and indulge in the same tasty appetizer without the animal cruelty.
  • Skip the a la mode: Why put a scoop of ice cream on your pumpkin pie when it causes 140 deaths per day of consumption? Enjoy your post-dinner pie with a side of coconut cream (and consider some of these scrumptious vegan pumpkin pie recipes to boot).

Happy Thanksgiving!

As vegans, many of us dread the thought of omnivores celebrating a holiday by eating animals. But this year, Thanksgiving presents a unique opportunity to convince our friends and family to adopt more humane habits. Though it may be challenging, remember to stay positive and encouraging throughout the day. Making even a small change to one’s lifelong traditions can be difficult, but having your support will help your loved ones succeed.

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Have a happy, safe, and cruelty-free holiday, and thank you for everything you do for animals.

To learn more about Faunalytics’ Animal Product Impact Scales and how we came up with our numbers, click hereYou can also read more about Faunalytics research in Top 10 Animal Products to Stop Eating Now Based on Which Animals Suffer the MostTop Animal Products that Cause the Most Suffering, and Top 10 Foods that Cause Most Animal Deaths.

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Recommended Resources For Thanksgiving:

Check out the following resources:

Learn How to Cook Meatless Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is not only good for animals but is known to help with chronic inflammationheart healthmental wellbeingfitness goalsnutritional needsallergiesgut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acnehormonal imbalancecancerprostate cancer and has many side effects.

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For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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