Tessa the Turkey Discovers the Dark Side of Festive Traditions

Posted on by Dan H

Meet Tessa, a jolly, singing turkey – voiced by Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget star Jane Horrocks – the leading character of PETA UK’s latest Christmas advert. The ad will be screened in UK cinemas during the holiday season, but you can watch it here first:

Tessa sings as she marvels at many of today’s Christmas customs, like The Elf on the Shelf. But the advert takes a dark turn when Tessa finds herself seized and sent to an abattoir – the fate that awaits most turkeys in real life. Here, she questions how slaughtering sensitive animals for Christmas dinner can have a place in today’s world. The advert ends with a simple appeal to kill this tradition, not the turkey, and a call for viewers to try a vegan meal instead.

The Turkey Tradition Is Cruel and Archaic

Turkeys are intelligent and gentle birds who, just like Tessa, have curious minds and outgoing personalities. In nature, they are doting parents and can live for up to 10 years, but those killed for their flesh are denied the chance to live with their families and die prematurely.

In Australia, roughly 5 million turkeys are slaughtered each year for Christmas dinners. The birds are crammed into filthy sheds, where they suffer immensely before being sent to slaughter at just 9 to 24 weeks of age. This means that if a turkey is on your table this year, you’re eating a baby!

Farm Transparency Project

At abattoirs, turkeys are often hung from metal shackles by their feet and dragged through an electrified bath that can cause full-body tremors. Stunning is never an exact science, and some birds are still conscious when their throats are slit or as they’re placed into scalding-hot water to remove their feathers.

Farm Transparency Project

Start a New, Vegan Tradition

Christmas is a time of goodwill to all, when even the biggest Scrooge can open their heart to kindness. What will you do now that you know how turkeys suffer just so humans can eat them? You can extend the season’s good tidings to all animals simply by leaving them off your plate.

Happily, it’s easier than ever to start a new tradition by enjoying animal- and planet-friendly vegan versions of all the classic Christmas foods you love!