At Farm Sanctuary, turkeys are on the guest list, not the menu

The starring attractions will be pretty evident at the Celebration for the Turkeys on Sunday in Acton. The event, held at the animal rescue organization Farm Sanctuary’s 26-acre site just south of Palmdale, aims to get the classic holiday bird into the hearts, not the stomachs, of children and adults.

This is the first year that the New York-based Farm Sanctuary, the country’s largest farm animal rescue and protection organization, will hold the pre-holiday event in Southern California. All 21 of the farm’s resident turkeys will be included in the festivities, which culminate in the Feeding of the Turkey ceremony. The rescued animals devour a meal that includes pumpkin pie and cranberries.

Organizers bill the human meal at 4 p.m. as a vegan alternative to the classic Thanksgiving fare. (Hint: Get ready for some Tofurkey.)


So will bringing little ones set up parents for a meal-time revolt on the official day of overeating?

“Kids have a natural love and fondness for animals that we really try to encourage,” said Samantha Ragsdale, senior director of education for the organization. “It’s one meal of the year to give thanks and also to celebrate compassion.”

Tickets are $75. Register online. Registration was to close at midnight Thursday, but Farm Sanctuary said it may push back the deadline. You also can read our story from last year about two-dozen orphan turkeys dropped off at Farm Sanctuary.

Updated on Nov. 9: A Farm Sanctuary spokeswoman confirmed that the birds at the Celebration of the Turkeys this year are indeed the same orphan birds from last year. “Some went to our shelter in Orland, and we’re working on placing some in forever homes this year,” Meredith Turner said via email. “But this is the same group! All grown up!”

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