Millions of families across America are preparing for Thanksgiving. I love this holiday because it celebrates togetherness, and I can’t wait to gather with my friends and family, including my dog Lilly and our cats, Misti and Storm.
At the same time, Thanksgiving can be a reminder of how difficult it can be to change cherished traditions, which is why I’m increasingly inclined to view the holiday as an opportunity to reflect on who we are as a society and an impetus to create new traditions that help to shape and usher in the humane world at the center of our vision.
The tradition of giving thanks and cherishing family is important, and it’s even better when this tradition extends to those who do not have access to the resources they need to care for their animal family members. I’m grateful that we are expanding our programs to help families in underserved areas care for their companion animals. In the world we’re working to build, nobody ever has to surrender an animal because the only housing they can access excludes animals, and nobody has to experience distress and worry because they can’t afford cat food or don’t have transportation to take their beloved dog to a veterinarian. Our programs support animal health and wellbeing, keep families together with their beloved animals, and reduce the number of animals who become homeless.
Thanksgiving can also be difficult for all of us who advocate for farmed animals. Our Farm Animal Protection teams work across the U.S. and globally every day of the year to decrease meat consumption in favor of plant-based foods, which helps prevent animal suffering and takes some stress off the environment.
Let’s keep the tradition of gathering for a meal. But let’s be open to culinary innovations that are just as festive and flavorful, yet far kinder and potentially sparing the lives of the tens of millions of turkeys and other animals.