Tips from WSPA for a Healthy and Humane Thanksgiving Table

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World Society for the Protection of Animals offers simple ways to help save the planet this Thanksgiving

"We want people to know that choosing certain foods can help save our planet. What better day to start than on Thanksgiving?”

On Thanksgiving Day when Americans give thanks for the abundance of food on their table, they should also appreciate the global impact of what they are eating. Making humane choices when shopping for a turkey and other holiday groceries is a simple yet powerful way to make a difference, reports the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) (    

According to Sharanya Krishna Prasad, WSPA U.S. programs officer, “Understanding food labels, and in turn, making humane choices for your turkey, eggs and milk can have a substantial impact on animal welfare, the environment and your health. We want people to know that choosing certain foods can help save our planet. What better day to start than on Thanksgiving?”

Humane Turkey Talk from WSPA:

  •     When shopping for a turkey, WSPA says look for these labels: “Pasture Raised,” “USDA Organic,” “American Humane Certified,” “Animal Welfare Approved” or “Certified Humane.” These labels indicate that animals were generally raised under more humane standards and were given access to sunlight, fresh air, and freedom of movement. They were also spared non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth-promoting hormones.
  •     Avoid misleading labels like “Natural” or “Naturally Raised.” While “Naturally Raised” ensures animals were not given antibiotics or hormones, this claim does not require that the animals have freedom, fresh air or sunlight. The term “Natural” has no relevance to animal welfare and merely indicates that the product was minimally processed and contains no dyes or preservatives.
  •     Avoid serving multiple meat entrées during Thanksgiving. Instead add a meatless entrée choice such as ratatouille, lasagna, vegetable chili or meatless shepherd's pie.
  •     Do not add meat (like sausage) to your stuffing. Instead use veggies, fruits or nuts.
  •     Use vegetable broth in place of turkey or chicken broth for gravies and sauces.
  •     Substitute soy milk, vegetable broth or water, for cow's milk in squash and corn soups.
  •     Use soy milk instead of cow's milk in mashed potatoes and in corn and green bean casseroles.
  •     Substitute “Egg Replacer” for chicken eggs in cornbread and other breads, cakes and desserts.
  •     Substitute soy milk for cow's milk in pie crusts and fillings.
  •     Try frozen non-dairy dessert on top of pies or cakes.

WSPA’s Prasad explains, “If every person in the U.S. cut meat out of their diet for just one day it would save over 200,000 tons of food and nearly two million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions. That amount could feed an estimated two million people in need. By choosing humane labels, reducing meat in your diet and minimizing meat products in your side dishes, you can curb your carbon footprint and have something to truly be thankful for.”

For more information on food labels, humane eating, and WSPA visit or

WSPA has built the world’s largest alliance – over 1,000 animal welfare groups in 150 countries –dedicated to alleviating animal suffering. Through its pioneering programs and unique partnerships, WSPA addresses animal welfare concerns on a truly unprecedented global scale.


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Rodi Rosensweig
for The World Society for the Protection of Animals
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