Vegan filmmaker Kevin Smith is encouraging Americans to skip the turkey this Thanksgiving and instead choose compassion.
The “Clerks” creator, along with his daughter, actor, and fellow vegan Harley Quinn Smith, appeared in a new PSA for Farm Sanctuary, the first shelter for rescued farm animals in the nation. In the video, Kevin and Harley hang out with a couple of the sanctuary’s resident turkeys while discussing why they are choosing to break tradition with a vegan Thanksgiving.
“They are such kind, beautiful creatures,” Harley said. “They’re very friendly and I don’t really think that enough people recognize their value and importance to the world.”
“And you can pet them. Who knew you can pet a turkey, just like when you pet a dog or a cat, man. There’s something really soothing about it,” Kevin added. He reflected on his meat-eating days, adding that he had never really considered how similar the birds are to the animals that people adopt as pets.
This year, the Smiths have signed on as spokespeople for Farm Sanctuary’s 33rd annual Adopt a Turkey Project, which encourages people to see turkeys as sentient, each with their own unique personality. According to Farm Sanctuary, 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year. Through its program, it has saved more than one thousand birds.
“You’re always told by older people it’s OK to eat animals, we’re supposed to eat animals. And, you know, for a long time, that’s what my generation believed. Now we know a lot better,” Kevin said.
“I would just like to apologize to both these ladies for the amount of their forefathers and mothers that I’ve put away,” Kevin added, addressing the turkeys. “But you have my solemn word ladies, I will never eat another turkey. And I will go out of my way to see that others might not as well.”
When asked what he’s grateful for this year, Kevin, who adopted a plant-based diet earlier this year after suffering from a major heart attack, said: “It’s easy man, I’m thankful I’m alive. And then I’m thankful for my kid who was like ‘yeah, go vegan.’ I’m thankful I got good advice. I’m thankful I followed it, to be honest.”
Harley agreed, saying that her father’s medical scare was the worst day of her life. Despite being an avid lover of meat and cheese prior to going vegan, Kevin has a newfound love for plant-based food, particularly the fast-casual chain Veggie Grill, and says that he doesn’t miss anything.
“This’ll be the first year that we’re breaking the chain with tradition… nobody’s going to be eating any bird,” Kevin said.
“Try taking the turkey off your plate and adopt one instead … Let’s break the chain,” he concluded.
To learn more about Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Program or to support it, see here.
Image Credit: Farm Sanctuary
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