It started with a Farm Sanctuary Compassionate Meals challenge, and today, heading into the holiday season, filmmaker Kevin Smith is grateful to be alive following a massive heart attack that inspired him to adopt a vegan lifestyle, which this year includes advocating alongside his daughter, actress Harley Quinn Smith, for the 46 million turkeys who will be slaughtered for Thanksgiving alone.
The two signed on as spokespeople for Farm Sanctuary’s 33rd annual Adopt a Turkey Project, encouraging consumers to break the chain of old traditions, take the turkey off their plates, and sponsor a rescued turkey instead.
The following are excerpts from a new PSA the two filmed on-location at Farm Sanctuary’s Southern California sanctuary:
“You’re always told by older people it’s OK to eat animals, we’re supposed to eat animals,” Kevin says the video, while gently stroking a turkey. “And, you know, for a long time, that’s what my generation believed. Now we know a lot better.”
Says Harley Quinn, “What I know about turkeys is that they’re such kind and beautiful creatures, they’re very friendly, and I don’t really think that enough people recognize their value and importance to the world.” Adds Kevin, “And you can pet them. Who knew you can pet a turkey, just like when you pet a dog or a cat, man. There’s something really soothing about it.”
When asked what he’s thankful for this Thanksgiving, Kevin, who suffered a massive heart attack earlier this year, says, “It’s easy man, I’m thankful I’m alive. And then I’m thankful for my kid who was like ‘yeah, go vegan.’ I’m thankful I got good advice. I’m thankful I followed it, to be honest.” For her part, Harley Quinn says that she’s also thankful that Kevin is alive, revealing that the day of her dad’s heart attack was the worst day of her entire life, prompting Kevin to add, “Mine, too.”
When asked about his transition to a vegan diet given his previous resistance, Kevin says “there’s nothing I miss.” In fact, the Smiths are planning to celebrate their first vegan Thanksgiving by gathering around with their family and eating delicious food, including an order from Kevin’s now-beloved Veggie Grill. “This’ll be the first year that we’re breaking the chain with tradition… nobody’s going to be eating any bird.”
To the rescued turkeys, whose lives represent the 46 million others slaughtered each year for Thanksgiving alone, Kevin says, “I would just like to apologize to both these ladies for the amount of their forefathers and mothers that I’ve put away. But you have my solemn word ladies, I will never eat another turkey. And I will go out of my way to see that others might not as well.”
Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s annual Adopt a Turkey Project has led to the rescue of more than 1,000 turkeys from a brutal death and given thousands of people an opportunity to honor the spirit of the holiday by sponsoring rescued turkey residents and supporting lifesaving rescue, education, and advocacy work on behalf of billions of farm animals just like them. For a one-time donation of $35, you can symbolically adopt Farm Sanctuary-rescued turkeys, Bowie, Gerda, Perdita, Ruthie, and Spunky; or, sponsor the flock for $150. To learn more, visit adoptaturkey.org.