Archive | Special Alert! RSS feed for this section

Happy Thanksliving

In Canada, we already cel­e­brated our Thanks­giv­ing in Octo­ber. How­ever, I want to take this oppor­tu­nity to wish all my south­ern neigh­bours a Happy Thanks­giv­ing… or should I say Thanksliv­ing.

While Amer­i­cans gather together with fam­ily and friends on this day of thanks and boun­teous food, I think it’s impor­tant to con­sider just where this food came from. The first thing peo­ple asso­ciate with Thanks­giv­ing is, in most cases, Turkey. In fact, you’ve prob­a­bly heard or even said “Happy Turkey Day!” your­self at some point.

 My friends at Cedar Row Farm Sanc­tu­ary 2010

Turkeys, in my expe­ri­ence, are extremely friendly and intel­li­gent birds. I hap­pened to meet some on my visit to Cedar Row Farm Sanc­tu­ary last year. They came right up to me with warm greet­ings when I arrived. I was bowled over by how friendly and socia­ble they were. Not just with each other but with people!

After our visit, I was touched by my expe­ri­ence with the turkeys and dis­turbed that the the word turkey is almost syn­ony­mous with food on Thanks­giv­ing. If only peo­ple knew more about turkeys then they might not be so quick to eat them on Thanksgiving.

Thank­fully, every year Farm Sanc­tu­ary cel­e­brates a turkey-free Thanks­giv­ing feast and encour­ages peo­ple to Adopt-A-Turkey.  Through this pro­gram peo­ple can save a turkey by spon­sor­ing it with a one time dona­tion of $30. Farm Sanc­tu­ary has res­cued over 1,000 turkeys since 1996. This pro­gram also seeks to edu­cate peo­ple on the sit­u­a­tion fac­ing turkeys today such as fac­tory farm­ing con­di­tions and facts about turkeys as a species.


National shel­ter direc­tor of Farm Sanc­tu­ary, Susie Cos­ton, shares her top 10 facts about turkeys:

Susie Coston’s Top 10 Fas­ci­nat­ing Facts about Farm Sanctuary’s Res­cued Turkeys

  1. Between 1965 and 2000, the weight of the aver­age turkey raised for food in the U.S. increased by 57 per­cent, from an aver­age of 18 pounds to an aver­age of 28.2 pounds, pre­vent­ing commercially-raised turkeys from per­form­ing their nat­ural behav­iors and caus­ing them to suf­fer from crip­pling foot and leg problems.
  1. Wild turkeys, who weigh between 8–18 pounds, are able to fly up to 55 miles an hour, but turkeys raised for meat on fac­tory farms are so large they can’t even perch. When turkeys arrive at Farm Sanctuary’s shel­ters, they attempt to perch and even fly until they are too large to do so.
  1. Indus­trial turkeys’ unnat­ural weight causes many health prob­lems, includ­ing heart dis­ease, heart attack, and arthri­tis, at as young as one month of age. At our sanc­tu­ar­ies, we have to feed our turkeys res­cued from indus­trial farms a restricted diet to ensure that they will live long, healthy lives, oth­er­wise they will gain even more weight than the aver­ages listed previously.
  1. Turkeys rec­og­nize each other by their unique voices. Researchers have iden­ti­fied nearly 30 dis­tinct vocal­iza­tions in wild turkeys.
  1. Like dogs and cats, turkeys are highly intel­li­gent and emo­tional ani­mals who show great affec­tion to oth­ers and form strong social bonds with other turkeys in their flock that last a lifetime.
  1. Turkeys have excel­lent geog­ra­phy skills and can learn the spe­cific details of an area of more than 1,000 acres.
  1. On fac­tory farms, turkeys fre­quently have the ends of their beaks and toes cut off with­out anes­the­sia — prac­tices know as debeaking and detoe­ing — to pre­vent them from injur­ing one another as they are crowded by the thou­sands into dark, filthy warehouses.
  1. Com­pletely unlike their wild ances­tors not only in terms of physique but also in hue, most com­mer­cial turkeys are totally white — the nat­ural bronze color selec­tively bred out of them to elim­i­nate uneven pig­ment col­orations — because of con­sumer pref­er­ence for even flesh tones.
  1. Cater­ing to con­sumer pref­er­ences for “white meat,” the indus­try has selec­tively bred turkeys to have abnor­mally large breasts. This anatom­i­cal manip­u­la­tion makes it impos­si­ble for male turkeys to nat­u­rally mate with females, elim­i­nat­ing these birds’ abil­ity to repro­duce with­out arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion. As a result, arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion is now the sole means of repro­duc­tion on fac­tory farms, where breeder birds are con­fined for months on end.
  1. Turkeys, like all ani­mals, love life and want noth­ing more than to live free from fear and pain. Yet turkeys, along with other poul­try, are not pro­tected by the fed­eral Humane Slaugh­ter Act. Every year, more than 46 mil­lion turkeys are killed, fre­quently with­out first being stunned, for Thanks­giv­ing dinners.

(Taken from Farm Sanctuary’s Novem­ber 23, 2010 press release.)



For earth and animal-friendly turkey sub­sti­tutes for your Thanks­giv­ing table click here!

When I went to visit Cedar Row Farm Sanc­tu­ary this past Octo­ber, I was sad­dened to find out that the turkeys that had whole­heart­edly greeted me in 2010 had passed. Turkeys are bred to have large breasts as this is the part of them that is in high­est demand for non-veggies. As a result, turkeys that are lucky enough to live out their lives end up hav­ing heart prob­lems among other issues. I was told that some­thing called the “flip” hap­pens. The “flip” is when their breasts become too large and they flip over on to them and die. When I heard this was the fate of my beau­ti­ful friends, I was truly upset. I had really looked for­ward to see­ing them again.

So on this day of thanks, let’s take a sec­ond and be thank­ful for all the crea­tures on this planet. Let’s instead eat some Tofurky with mush­room gravy while we hon­our all those we are grate­ful for.

Here’s to the turkeys! What an amaz­ing bird. If you get a chance to inter­act or hang out with one, I would highly rec­om­mend it. Happy Thanksliv­ing!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

Vegan is Sexy!

Check out this cool arti­cle from Huff­in­g­ton Post on how veg­an­ism has some styl­ish new spokes­peo­ple. Thank Hashem!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

Help Free These Elephants!


On Octo­ber 25th 2011 the Toronto City Coun­cil voted 31 to 4 in favour of send­ing Iringa, Toka & Thika, the 3 remain­ing ele­phants at the Toronto Zoo, to the PAWS Sanc­tu­ary in Cal­i­for­nia. This place is awesome!

It is now Nov 11th!? What is the hold up? Bob Barker has even offered to cover all the costs to trans­port these poor guys to California.

Please sign this peti­tion to help set them free…

Toronto is a great place to live, if you are a human. I don’t think the ele­phants will appre­ci­ate another snowy win­ter the way we do, so let’s set them free and give them a bet­ter life.

Ele­phants nat­u­rally can travel 10 to 20 miles in a day. As you can see here, Iringa is con­fined to a very small space…

I don’t need to tell you how intel­li­gent and sen­si­tive ele­phants are, but here is a great video show­ing an ele­phants capac­ity for companionship…

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

Happy World Vegan Day!

It has been 68 years since The Vegan Soci­ety was formed and the term “vegan” was coined in Hol­born, Lon­don. We’re sure glad it hap­pened! Other name ideas included “dairy­ban”, “vitan”, “benevore”, “sani­vore” and “beau­mangeur”. Luck­ily, the word “vegan” was cho­sen by Don­ald Wat­son to describe those who not only abstained from eat­ing meat, but also did not con­sume any ani­mal prod­ucts such as eggs, milk, or cheese. If he hadn’t decided on that name on Novem­ber 1st 1944, today I might be say­ing Happy World beau­manguer day! or Happy sani­vore day!

Regard­less of the name, it is the idea and the lifestyle that we cel­e­brate today and lucky for us, today is just the kick off for World Vegan month!

Here’s what fel­low veg­ans around the world are doing to celebrate!

In Toronto, the TVA (Toronto Veg­e­tar­ian Asso­ci­a­tion) is gear­ing up for some awe­some events includ­ing a visit from the leg­endary Dr. Neal Barnard on Nov 10th.

So Happy World Vegan day! and Happy World Vegan month! Let’s spread the mes­sage, spread the love and cel­e­brate this com­pas­sion­ate and pas­sion­ate lifestyle.

Oy Vegan!






Comments { 0 }


Wooooohooooo! We did it Toronto! We just took a great step towards pro­tect­ing our sharks. Thank Hashem!

It was a lively and pas­sion­ate debate at Toronto City Coun­cil today. In the end, the coun­sel­lors voted for the ban of shark fins in Toronto: 38–4. Coun­sel­lors R. Ford, Mam­moliti, Shiner and Holy­day opposed the ban. Read more about it here.

The whole room erupted in applause as the motion passed. This is a great day for Toronto and a great day for sharks. The next step is to take this coun­try wide and then world wide! Who’s with me?!


Oy Vegan!



Comments { 0 }

Vegan wins Food Network’s Cupcake Wars!

Check this out! Shout out to!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

100 year old man finishes Toronto Waterfront Marathon! Guess what? He’s Vegetarian!



Cen­te­nar­ian Fauja Singh ran the Toronto Water­front Marathon on Sun­day. He’s also veg­e­tar­ian. We’re not surprised.

Read about it here!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }

The UN wants the world to go Vegan!!



UN urges global move towards meat and dairy-free diet!!! Read the Guardian arti­cle.

Shout-out to Bar­bara for link­ing me to this.

Oy Vegan!


Comments { 0 }

Special Alert! Sign this petition for a fin free Toronto!!!




Great news! On Thurs­day Octo­ber 13th, I went down to city hall to show my sup­port for the pro­posed shark fin ban in Toronto which was brought before the licens­ing and stan­dards committee.

I’m happy to report there was a huge turnout of shark lovers. We def­i­nitely out­num­bered the angry shark fin soup mer­chants! About 40–50 peo­ple spoke to the com­mit­tee in sup­port of the ban. Among them was Rob Stew­art maker of the crit­i­cally acclaimed doc­u­men­tary Shark­wa­ter, win­ner of 31 inter­na­tional awards and Les Stroud of hit TV show Sur­vivor­man.

shark fins

Christo­pher Chin from COARE flew in from Cal­i­for­nia, where they just passed a shark fin ban effec­tive Jan­u­ary of next year, to speak to the com­mit­tee. One of the high­lights of the day came when Julie Ander­son of United Con­ser­va­tion­ists and Shark Angels showed select footage of her work with sharks which included video of sharks being finned,  and was chas­tised by the speaker for show­ing such graphic imagery. One of the coun­sel­lors yelled out dra­mat­i­cally that she felt nauseous.

The good news is that the com­mit­tee voted unan­i­mously to bring the issue before city coun­cil later in the month. Word on the street right now is it will take place Octo­ber 24th 2011. A small vic­tory but a step in the right direction!

In the mean­time, more sig­na­tures are needed to show support!!

Please take a sec­ond and sign the peti­tion to sup­port the ban of the pos­ses­sion, sale, and con­sump­tion of shark fin prod­ucts in Toronto!


Oy Vegan wants to shout out every­one who came to sup­port on Thurs­day AND a HUGE shout out to Coun­cil­lor Kristyn Wong-Tam and Coun­cil­lor Glenn De Baere­maeker for all the work they have done!!!

Oy Vegan!

Comments { 0 }