Peta has released its very first Christmas advert, which encourages people to have a vegan Christmas this year.
The animal rights organisation, which is known for its provocative campaigns that aim to draw attention to animal cruelty, said its animated advert will make viewers “question the status quo”.
It follows Toby the baby turkey, who escapes from a truck full of other turkeys bound for the slaughterhouse. He is picked up by a family, who raise him and keep him as a family member.
One Christmas eve, Toby sees an advert on TV and recognises the logo of the Happy Turkey Farm, which was on the truck he fell out of the day he was rescued. He panics and thinks his human family will want to eat him for Christmas.
But on the big day, it is revealed that Toby’s household are vegans and they enjoy a Christmas meal made from Tofurky, a brand name of vegan turkey in the US.
“Peace on Earth begins at home,” a message at the end of the advert says. “Have a vegan holiday.”
Jennifer White, Peta’s communications manager, appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday morning (24 November) to discuss the advert with Liz Webster, the chair of Save British Farming.
“Toby represents 10 million turkeys who are slaughtered at Christmas time alone in the UK, and if we’re honest with ourselves, there is a disconnect here, we are celebrating the season of peace and goodwill with the corpse of a tortured bird in the middle of the table,” White said.
But Webster argued that if people stopped farming animals, “then we don’t have the soil that we need and the fertiliser that we need”, adding: “It’s the food chain.”
She added: “I feel proud about eating meat because we have the best farms in the world here, we farm to such a high standard.”
Webster also said that “food supply and food security is absolutely essential”, pointing towards food shortages and a smaller supply of food coming into the UK from Europe.
“As people get hungry, if there’s not enough good… you’ll end up in a very fractious situation,” she warned.
But according to White, the response to Peta’s festive advert “has been immense”.
“You can get a vegan turkey crown, vegan pigs in blankets, vegan ‘goose fat’ for your roast potatoes. You can have a traditional Christmas dinner, just without the turkey,” she said.