(photo by Matt Washil)

This Thanksgiving, take a look at a different way to spend turkey day – with live turkeys! Author and animal advocate Karen Dawn does just this each Thanksgiving by bringing live turkeys into her home for a special celebration. She calls it “a fun way to present a serious message about health, about animal welfare, and about the environment.”

First they get a wash and blowdry, and after a rest in the sun, it’s cuddle time with the neighborhood kids. “[The turkeys] clearly enjoy the gentle attention, which I think some people are surprised to learn,” she says in her video showing the process.

After their stay with Karen, these fortunate turkeys will make their way to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, Northern California, where they will live the rest of their lives as turkey ambassadors of goodwill.

Most turkeys eaten for the holidays are subjected to cruel conditions through their upbringing at factory farms, as well as being put through inhumane and painful treatment when being killed for food.

Karen makes the point, “Turkey day is a lot more fun when the turkeys are alive and well.”

When Karen isn’t rescuing turkeys, she is busy as the author of several op-ed pieces as well as Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals which the Washington Post called one of the “Best Books of 2008.” She was awarded Outstanding Activist for Farm Animals and continues her work educating on animal welfare.

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