For Immediate Release:
December 11, 2023
Sara Groves 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – Move over, Rudolph—here comes Toby! This beguiling little bird is the star of PETA’s new Christmas special encouraging viewers to leave turkeys in peace, not in pieces, which will run on the local Cox Cable service during family-friendly holiday shows from today through Christmas.
The video opens with Toby—a beloved member of a human family—watching TV in a cozy home, only to be confronted by a horrifying ad for a turkey dinner. Panicked, he races around the house, right into the arms of his adoptive human mother. As a few of his feathers fall to the floor, no one knows what happens to Toby—until the final scene, which, to the viewer’s relief, shows him at the table, not on it, tucking into a savory vegan roast with his loving human family.
“Turkeys are smart, curious individuals who love their families, and each one has a story that shouldn’t end on a fork,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Only a grinch would eat someone like Toby, so PETA is encouraging everyone to show animals goodwill by choosing an animal-friendly, vegan repast at Christmastime and always.”
In nature, turkeys spend their days caring for their young, building nests, foraging for food, taking dust baths, and roosting in trees—but approximately 22 million of them are killed every year in the U.S. for Christmas alone. Workers hang the young birds upside down, drag them through an electrified bath, slit their throats, and dump them into scalding-hot water in defeathering tanks—often while they’re still conscious.
Earlier this year, eight former workers at Pennsylvania-based Plainville Farms, a self-professed “humane” turkey supplier to Wegmans, Publix, Harris Teeter, and other grocers, entered guilty pleas to cruelty charges after a PETA undercover investigation showed them punching and stomping on birds and a ninth worker pleaded no contest. In total, Pennsylvania State Police brought 141 counts of cruelty to animals, the largest number in any factory-farmed animal case in U.S. history, to workers there; however, such cruelty is systemic in the meat industry.
The spot will run on AMC, Hallmark, TBS, TNT, and Freeform. It will also run during holiday shows airing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and Providence, Rhode Island.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.