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LA Times Op-Ed: This Thanksgiving, Honor Turkeys By Not Eating Them

LA Times Op-Ed: This Thanksgiving, Honor Turkeys By Not Eating Them

Turkey prices have dropped in part because the avian flu hasn’t hit as hard in 2023 as in the previous year.

This Thanksgiving, the Los Angeles Times tried to persuade its readership to choose plant-based alternatives to the traditional turkey dinner.

The publication featured an op-ed by Gene Baur, the president and co-founder of the farm animal sanctuary and advocacy organization Farm Sanctuary.

We can opt out of supporting such needless suffering by putting compassion for animals, people and the planet at the center of our holiday celebrations.

At Farm Sanctuary, we turn the tables on the Thanksgiving season, and encourage people to adopt a turkey rather than eat one. We honor and recognize these much-maligned individuals each year with our Celebration for the Turkeys, where rescued turkeys at our sanctuaries near Los Angeles and New York are guests of honor, not the main course, at a holiday feast.

Of course, not all of us will welcome turkeys to our table — but we can easily leave them off our plates. By choosing a plant-based Thanksgiving meal, we can combat cruelty and embrace a better holiday.

As I have noted previously, animal protein is better absorbed and utilized than plant protein for humans. There is no rationale to support excising meat from human diets unless the agenda is not to support humanity. I, for one, will totally enjoy my turkey dinner this Thursday.

Interestingly, it is being reported that the price of turkey has dropped substantially.

“There’s been a big collapse in retail prices for turkey,” said Michael Swanson, chief agriculture economist with Wells Fargo Agri-Food Institute.

“Because turkey prices are down so much, and that’s the centerpiece of the meal, celebrating Thanksgiving at home will be more advantageous this year for families,” he said.

Store prices for the 10-to 15-pound turkey, typically the star of the holiday dinner, have dropped 13% in October compared to the same month last year, said Swanson.

… But the big drop in price isn’t related to anything nefarious. It’s the American tradition of supply and demand, and this year, there are just way too many birds.

At the farm level, Swanson said the industry in July added 2% to 3% additional birds into the barn to keep the supply robust for Thanksgiving. On top of boosting supply, he said other factors helping to reduce the price per pound of turkey include a drop in input costs such as the cost of refrigerated trucks to move supply around the country.

Another reason turkey prices have dropped is that this year’s battle with avian flu hasn’t been as last year, and many turkey farms bred extra in case the virus hit hard in 2023.

“Last year, avian influenza devastated our industry, we lost six to seven million turkeys,” said Heidi Diestel of Diestel Turkey Ranch in Jamestown, California. Her family raises up to 300,000 turkeys a year for higher-end customers who shop in stores like Whole Foods.

As we spoke this week in one of her barns housing hundreds of large tom turkeys — often gobbling in unison — she told me that last year’s flu infected some of her family’s flock.

“We had to kill some birds, unfortunately,” she said.

So her farm, like many other turkey operations, raised a lot of extra turkeys this year to beef up supplies. They did it in case there was another round of the flu. But the avian flu this year hasn’t been too bad — at least not yet — so farmers are stuck with an abundance of birds. “We’re heavy on supply,” Diestel said.

Of course, price comparisons are relative.

I am very grateful for my in-laws hosting the annual Thanksgiving Dinner. I hate to cook. I am bringing a pie made according to the family recipe handed down by Aunt Sara Lee.


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NotSoFriendlyGrizzly | November 21, 2023 at 9:08 am

Geez! Now I’m gonna have to feed my family 4 turkeys instead of the 2 I was planning…

My version of Thanksgiving diversity: I stuff my farm-raised turkey with fresh-hunted venison, and factory-raised pork, because we like meat inside our meat. Its oatmeal stuffing, so there are plants in there too.

Whitewall | November 21, 2023 at 9:15 am

We got tired of turkey years ago. Instead we cook a couple of Cornish Hens which are easy to cook and very tasty. We still have the usual sides and if a sweet potato pie can be located, then so much the better. If not then pumpkin pie will do.

    NotSoFriendlyGrizzly in reply to Whitewall. | November 21, 2023 at 10:12 am

    Cornish Hens sounds pretty good.

    We usually do a “themed” Thanksgiving dinner each year. 2 years ago, it was an Oriental Thanksgiving. Last year was Texas BBQ Thanksgiving. We make all the traditional sides but reimagine them for the theme. This year, we had requests for a more traditional Thanksgiving menu.

      Whitewall in reply to NotSoFriendlyGrizzly. | November 21, 2023 at 10:50 am

      Extra flavoring does help. My wife was always a masterful turkey cooker doing just that. People loved to have T’giving at our house because of the flavors plus knowing how to cook the bird moist to the bone. My Mother decided to let us cook dinner one year…naturally to see if her eldest daughter-in-law could cook a decent meal. Well, everyone knows about that family dynamic. Mom found out just how good her d-n-law could cook. So. From then on we did the turkey and Mom baked what needed baking and everyone else brought sides. My Mother was a masterful baker. Fortunately, my wife never took up baking. Those were good days..

      This year, we had requests for a more traditional Thanksgiving menu.
      Well, that’s a theme, too. 🙂

    healthguyfsu in reply to Whitewall. | November 21, 2023 at 10:13 am

    Turkey can be good if you just absolutely baby it with melded flavors but it’s not naturally appealing.

    I think humans started trying to find ways to eat it since it’s bigger than chickens and a little bit hardier to grow.

    Concise in reply to Whitewall. | November 21, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Cornish Hens are small enough. It’s stuffing the bugs that’s going to pose some difficulties.

JohnSmith100 | November 21, 2023 at 9:24 am

We need to differentiate between Dems and tasty turkeys. Dem turkeys are not good for anything.

I will probably stock up on edible turkeys, canning the meat.

    healthguyfsu in reply to JohnSmith100. | November 21, 2023 at 10:14 am

    Does canning your own turkey taste better than pre-canned store bought turkey?

      JohnSmith100 in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 21, 2023 at 10:24 am

      Yes we season each pint with a teaspoon of no salt spices.

      NotSoFriendlyGrizzly in reply to healthguyfsu. | November 21, 2023 at 10:32 am

      Absolutely! The Mrs. and I can turkey, chicken, duck, pork, beef, and rabbit. Not ground, mind you. We shred the meat, stuff the jars, add a little stock, and pressure can them. Want pulled pork sandwiches one night? Grab a pint jar, put it in a saucepan with your favorite BBQ sauce (my wife makes a MEAN Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce that she also cans), and a few minutes later you’ve got your sandwich.

        diver64 in reply to NotSoFriendlyGrizzly. | November 21, 2023 at 6:27 pm

        We can some but have changed to vacuum packing the meat to save the jars for the soup. When I worked for a company hauling glass canning jars I got cases of the seconds they throw out because the color isn’t right for free.

          NotSoFriendlyGrizzly in reply to diver64. | November 22, 2023 at 3:43 am

          Not a bad option at all. We tried doing that at first but found that after 1+ years in the freezer, the meat was kinda dry no matter how you cookedreheated it. So, we tried canning next and even 2_ years down the road, the meat was still perfect.

          But to each their own in the prepping world!

JackinSilverSpring | November 21, 2023 at 9:33 am

I will honor Thanksgiving by eating turkey. As for the LATrine and Gene Baur, they should note that turkey population today is far larger than it would be if we didn’t eat turkeys.

Are turkeys raised in those filthy cages like chickens?

    CommoChief in reply to smooth. | November 21, 2023 at 11:28 am

    Some are, others are free range. Depends on how much you want to pay.

      GWB in reply to CommoChief. | November 21, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      Some are very free range. You have to pick the birdshot out of those before cooking.

        alaskabob in reply to GWB. | November 21, 2023 at 2:00 pm

        The crunch you hear will not be the turkey but an appointment with the dentist.

        CommoChief in reply to GWB. | November 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

        Try a .22mag w scope for a headshot, assuming it is legal to use a rifle for hunting Turkey in your State.

        I have a flock of them that hang out in my little wooded acreage along with deer who only visit. I don’t hunt it at present, kinda saving it for a rainy day. As a result I got turkey,.deer, rabbits and ducks, herons visiting in my two acre + ponds. Its like my little acreage is ‘home base’. Not all gravy through…had a small alligator last year during breeding season. I say small, he was about 9/10 ft but still too small to compete with the older bigger males for breeding rights and he needed a place to hide out for 5/6 weeks.

And honor the LA Times by not reading it.

JohnSmith100 | November 21, 2023 at 10:27 am

I bet Thad Jarvis has a close affinity with Middle East turkeys.

“2019, which many people consider a baseline”

I hope and expect we’ll be seeing a *lot* of comparisons between current prices and 2019 prices during the next year.

More for me

E Howard Hunt | November 21, 2023 at 10:47 am

What a turkey!

I will not be impressed by the movement to shield farm animals from ending up on human dinner tables until these people make a credible effort to sell their agenda to the nation’s wolves, coyotes, foxes, owls, eagles, and all other predators. I don’t know why we should be the sole targets!

Did zuckerberg wife priscilla chan order the company cafeteria at FB to serve pangolin?

2smartforlibs | November 21, 2023 at 11:02 am

Maybe the time could honor the rest of us by minding their our business.

Dolce Far Niente | November 21, 2023 at 11:58 am

HONOR the turkey?!

Turkeys are the dumbest, dirtiest, most obnoxious poultry of all to raise. They spend all their time eating until the day they meat that Big Meat Cleaver in the sky.

If properly cooked, so that they are moist, juicy and with crackling brown skin, domestic turkey is delightful once or twice a year.

But to claim they have any natural destiny other than on a plate is anthropomorphism at its silliest. Pass by the meat department if you choose, but God save us from your quasi-moralist preening over your poor nutritional choices.

“We can put an end to needless suffering”… okay, if Americans stopped eating turkey you know what happens to all the turkeys? They become an endangered species immediately.

I have never driven to DC to slay and eat any of the bureaucrats there.
IOW, I do not eat turkeys!

(I also disagree with pardoning them!)

Biden pardoned a turkey, but not the J6 people.

In respect to vegetarians worldwide, the turkey we are cooking this year has been raised only on grains and vegetables. So the vegetarian Bacon number of this turkey is 1. Yum!

Holidays bring back memories, hopefully sweet.. Nothing triggers those more than smells…. A roasting turkey brings back my childhood, parts of which were not awful. A connection to the past is as important as the flavors of the present.. I guess I am sentimental.

My Butterball is defrosting… I am drying bread for stuffing, but we cheated and bought a grocery store pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving.. Ty Leslie… Your Aunt Sara Lee is a gem.

We welcome turkeys at our table, along with the mashed potatoes and gravy

Since when was observing Thanksgiving about ‘honoring’ turkeys?

We’ve learned to cook/prep for T-day the weekend before so as to spend the day with fam and friends and minimize stress. Turkey was cooked on Sunday – so – too late LATimes! Love this time of year – always buy 2 turkeys – we cook another in spring. Little goes to waste – wifey makes a wonderful stock from the bones, skin, neck, gizzard, etc. Makes wonderful turkey and noodles several times throughout the winter.

What is it with Libtards always having to challenge what’s loved and cherished among families and community? You’re vegan, lactose intolerant, PETA-fan, anti-gun, et al? Go spend the holidays in a drainage culvert somewhere – they make a lovely echo chamber for your mad rantings.

Turkey was kind of a soso dish to me until about eight years ago when we started using a pellet smoker to prepare our Turkey. Three hours in the pellet smoker at 300F and it is hard to find leftovers after the family starts in on it.

    diver64 in reply to Dr S. | November 21, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    Had a friend of mine make a smoker out of an old fridge. I brought him some peach trimmings from South Carolina and he smoked us a turkey. Best thing we ever had. The deep fried one was pretty good too.

I’ll adopt one although I’m afraid it will not live long. I’m predicting it’s demise Thursday.

I have fresh venison and I picked up a chunk of pig at the supermarket. My turkeys are usually shot in the spring but I do still have one small package to thaw, but that might be Christmas.

Yesterday a young man was fundraising for PETA outside Wal-Mart. Trying to engage me, he asked “Do you love animals?”

I replied, “Yes, they taste good!”

DSHornet | November 22, 2023 at 2:38 pm

From the article: “So her farm, like many other turkey operations, raised a lot of extra turkeys this year to beef up supplies.”

Very punny. That’s why we love ya, Leslie.

“ We honor and recognize these much-maligned individuals each year with our Celebration for the Turkeys…”

This is too easy.

Anyone else sick of the term “plant based?

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