Two years ago, yogi Tricia Ritterbusch met her first live turkeys while visiting the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York, a shelter that rescues animals from factory farms. It's no exaggeration to say that the encounter changed her life.
"They were so curious and friendly," she says. "I leaned in to rub one turkey's belly and I felt her body melt into my hand like a dog's or cat's would." She's now a vegan and works for the Farm Sanctuary. The sanctuary (which also has a locations in California) holds a "Celebration for the Turkeys" the week before Thanksgiving. Volunteers share a vegan meal, then present the resident turkeys with a feast of their own.
Thousands of families across the country have also created a new holiday tradition by adopting turkeys. A sponsorship provides for a rescued turkey's care at the shelter, and participants receive a photo of their turkey, an adoption certificate, biography, and a one-year subscription to Farm Sanctuary's newsletter. Visit Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-A-Turkey Project website to learn more.