Kevin Smith doesn't have turkey on Thanksgiving. | Farm Sanctuary
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(Updated November 27, 2019) | Vegan filmmaker Kevin Smith is encouraging Americans to skip the turkey this Thanksgiving and instead choose compassion.

Last year, the “Clerks” creator and his daughter, vegan actor Harley Quinn Smith, appeared in a PSA for Farm Sanctuary, the first shelter for rescued farm animals in the nation. In the video, Kevin and Harley spend time with some of the sanctuary’s resident turkeys while discussing why they have a vegan Thanksgiving.

“They are such kind, beautiful creatures,” Harley said, referring to turkeys. “They’re very friendly and I don’t really think that enough people recognize their value and importance to the world.”

“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,” Kevin added. He reflected on his meat-eating days, adding that he had never really considered how similar the birds are to the animals that people adopt as pets.

Last year, the Smiths signed on as spokespeople for Farm Sanctuary’s 33rd annual Adopt a Turkey Project. The initiative encourages people to see turkeys as unique individuals. According to the sanctuary, 46 million turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving each year. It has saved more than one thousand birds through its program.

“You’re always told by older people it’s OK to eat animals, we’re supposed to eat animals. And, you know, for a long time, that’s what my generation believed. Now we know a lot better,” Kevin said.

“I would just like to apologize to both these ladies for the amount of their forefathers and mothers that I’ve put away,” Kevin added, addressing the turkeys. “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.”

When asked what he’s grateful for this year, Kevin, who adopted a plant-based diet early last year after suffering from a major heart attack, said: “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.”

Harley agreed, saying that her father’s medical scare was the worst day of her life. Despite being an avid lover of meat and cheese prior to going vegan, Kevin has a newfound love for plant-based food, particularly the fast-casual chain Veggie Grill, and says that he doesn’t miss anything.

“This’ll be the first year that we’re breaking the chain with tradition… nobody’s going to be eating any bird,” Kevin said.

“Try taking the turkey off your plate and adopt one instead … Let’s break the chain,” he concluded.

To learn more about Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Program or to support it, see here.