Have a healthy and humane Thanksgiving table

Nov 25, 2009

With Thanksgiving approaching, families across the U.S. are looking forward to celebrating with a delicious feast. By reducing your consumption of meat and animal products over the holiday, you can have a positive impact for animals, your own health, and for the environment. To help get you started, WSPA has provided some easy steps you can take to make your Thanksgiving healthier and more animal-friendly.

The United States is the largest producer and consumer of turkey in the world, and raised 250 million turkeys this year. During Thanksgiving, meat consumption will drastically increase, impacting human health, the environment, and certainly the turkeys. Reducing meat intake is the best strategy for lessening the impact on the environment; however, for most U.S. households, the key component of Thanksgiving is a turkey feast.

If you can’t imagine your Thanksgiving sans turkey, there are plenty of other simple ways to lessen the amount of meat and animal products on your table:

  • 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.

By reducing your meat intake, you are not only proving your compassion for animals, but also your concern for the environment. Meat production has been linked with a broad range of social and environmental problems, including deforestation, water scarcity, pollution, climate change, species extinction, social injustice and the spread of disease.

According to Sharanya Krishna Prasad, WSPA U.S. programs officer, “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.”

Check out EatHumane.org for more ways to ensure your Thanksgiving is responsible and animal-friendly.

 © Photo credited to iStockphoto.com/Olga Lyubkina

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