While most U.S. residents will be eating turkeys on Thanksgiving, there are plenty of people who will decidedly not be eating turkeys on the holiday. And of those people, there are many of whom might even be adopting a turkey for Thanksgiving — including celebrities Madelaine Petsch, Rainn Wilson, Alicia Silverstone, Sarah Silverman, and more.
In honor of Thanksgiving 2023, several celebs partnered up with Farm Sanctuary to promote its Adopt a Turkey program; and the year prior, others did the same, all in order to encourage people to symbolically adopt turkeys rather than serve them for dinner this holiday season.
Keep reading to learn more about why these celebs are all skipping turkey at their Thanksgiving tables.
Farm Sanctuary runs an “Adopt a Turkey” program every Thanksgiving.
Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986; since then, it has been known as the U.S.’s first sanctuary for formerly farmed animals, as well as an advocacy organization that encourages people to see farmed animals as living beings, rather than part of the food system. Farm Sanctuary has locations in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Los Angeles, Calif.
Every Thanksgiving, Farm Sanctuary runs its “Adopt a Turkey” program. For $35, anyone can symbolically adopt one of the rescued turkeys who live at Farm Sanctuary. In exchange for the donation, Farm Sanctuary will send adopters a personalized adoption certificate that can be displayed on social media and/or your Thanksgiving table, as a powerful reminder of why you are not eating a turkey on “Turkey Day.”
You can even take a quiz to find the perfect turkey for you to symbolically adopt — whether you land on Thelma, Arendelle, Lizzie, Tutu, or Celeborn, they'll all appreciate it.
Each year, Farm Sanctuary partners with a few famous people who have pledged to take part in the program — here’s what a few of them had to say about adopting turkeys!
In early November 2023, Riverdale actress Madelaine Petsch starred in a video on Farm Sanctuary's Instagram, pledging her support for the Adopt a Turkey program — which Petsch's dad has been participating in on Petsch's behalf for 10 years!
"During [farmed turkeys'] short lives, they are often subjected to cruel practices such as debeaking and painful toe trimming," she said in the video, while gently petting a turkey at Farm Sanctuary.
"It doesn't have to be this way, and you can help," she added, before introducing Farm Sanctuary's symbolic adoption program.
Actress and animal advocate Ashley Jackson, best known for her role in the Netflix film Beats and the TV series A Kid Called Mayonnaise, joined the campaign in mid-November 2023.
"By making a one-time donation to Farm Sanctuary, you'll help them fight to advocate for farm animals and bring them to sanctuary," Jackson said in a video shared by Farm Sanctuary. "Let's use our voices to protect turkeys."
Comedian, vegan, and Swiftie Nikki Glaser appeared in a video for Farm Sanctuary's Adopt a Turkey campaign just a few days before Thanksgiving 2023.
"I'm a comedian, I'm a roaster, but one thing I'm not roasting is turkeys," the standup said in an Instagram video shared by Farm Sanctuary.
"I know they taste good, I know you like turkey, but liking something is not an excuse to do it if it's wrong," she continued. "Look into what happens to turkeys to get them on your plate and you might think twice about eating them."
Richa Moorjani, an animal advocate and actress known for playing Kamala on Netflix's Never Have I Ever, joined Farm Sanctuary's thanksgiving campaign on Nov. 20, 2023.
In a video on the sanctuary's Instagram, Moorjani reflected on her visit to Farm Sanctuary, where she "saw how loving [the turkeys] are, how intelligent they are, and just how much they are like our domesticated pets."
She encouraged viewers to adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary, because turkeys "deserve so much better."
The Office actor Rainn Wilson has spoken about his passion for protecting the environment on many occasions — he even once changed his name on social media to Rainnfall Heat Wave Extreme Winter Wilson to spread awareness of the climate crisis.
“As we approach the holiday season, it's so important to stay mindful of the impact that our rituals of consumption have on the planet and on the agricultural system,” Wilson — who describes himself as “an aspiring vegan” — announced in a 2022 Instagram video discussing the Adopt a Turkey program.
“Your one time donation, helps Farm Sanctuary care for rescued turkeys and protects other rescued farm animals and allows them to live beautiful lives,” he added, encouraging fans to take the quiz and adopt a turkey.
Actress Alicia Silverstone is a longtime vegan and animal advocate. She shared a beautiful video of herself and her son Bear interacting with animals at the sanctuary to announce her involvement in the Adopt a Turkey program.
“Saying, ‘I'm not going to eat a turkey this year’ means I am taking a stand on the side of making change; on the side of standing in my beliefs, and saying ‘Actually, I don't want to contribute to climate change. Actually, I don't want to hurt animals,’” Silverstone said in her video.
“Why is one an animal that we love and sleep with and kiss, but another animal is one that we’ve allowed to be tortured, and brutally slaughtered?” Silverstone continued, comparing turkeys to dogs. “We're very hopeful that more people will stop eating turkeys, adopt turkeys [instead], and make their Thanksgiving truly about gratitude.”
Comedian Sarah Silverman doesn’t find anything funny about killing turkeys for Thanksgiving.
“One of my favorite animal advocacy organizations is Farm Sanctuary. They rescue farm animals from abuse, give them safe homes, and use their stories to show that these animals are friendly and curious and loving creatures that deserve compassion,” Silverman said in a 2022 video on Farm Sanctuary’s Instagram account.
“Everyone knows we got a big holiday coming up centered around eating one of these animals — the turkey. You know, 68 million turkeys will be killed for the holiday season alone,” she continued, before encouraging people to symbolically adopt a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Actress Bellamy Young, who played Mellie on Scandal, wants your Thanksgiving to be scandal-free by omitting the turkeys from your table.
“Farm Sanctuary and I would like to invite you to make a new holiday tradition by sponsoring a rescued turkey,” Young, who has been vegan since 1998, said in an Instagram video. “Through Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project, you can make a one-time donation to help turkeys who have been rescued from abuse, neglect, factory farming… but also to help Farm Sanctuary do their work all year long.”
“Of the 223 million turkeys that are slaughtered each year 68 million of those are for the holidays alone,” Young added. “So let's try and offset that with a little joy.”