Why Joaquin Phoenix Doesn't Want You To Eat Turkey This Thanksgiving

If you were to list the few dishes that you needed for a simple Thanksgiving dinner, there are certain items that would definitely make it regardless of how basic and small the dinner is meant to be: stuffing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy, and turkey. It's hard to imagine a Thanksgiving without a turkey showstopper.

This year, though, Joaquin Phoenix is encouraging fans to celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey. Phoenix and his fiancée Rooney Mara, both vegans themselves, want people to celebrate by adopting a turkey instead of playing a part in slaughtering one (via People). According to BU Today, over 45 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone, of which 99.8% never live a life outside of factories in which they are bred. The site also claims that most turkeys are killed between the age of 14 and 18 weeks, when their natural lifespan is that of a decade.

In a joint statement to People, the couple said that "turkeys are emotional, intelligent, and social animals" and that it's "chilling" that so many turkeys are slaughtered for Thanksgiving, the holiday season of giving and gratitude. Instead, Phoenix and Mara have partnered with Farm Sanctuary and are calling on people to take part in their "Adopt a Turkey" program to symbolically adopt a turkey instead of eating one.

Joaquin Phoenix has celebrated without turkey for decades

Joaquin Phoenix has been a vegetarian for years and has been celebrating Thanksgiving without a turkey for a long time. Per Deseret News, Phoenix has been outspoken about his views against turkey slaughter for Thanksgiving since 1998.

Phoenix even signed a petition with Billie Eilish and other celebrities requesting President Joe Biden to allow turkeys given the annual presidential pardon this year to live at Farm Sanctuary instead of being sent to zoos and universities as is the case each year (via People). "Here, they will have the opportunity to dust bathe, feel grass beneath their feet, enjoy a robust social life, and receive personalized care," requested the petition.

As for what common people could do, Phoenix wants to encourage people to adopt a turkey with Farm Sanctuary and celebrate the season of gratitude without eating a turkey. A one-time $35 donation will go toward caring for rescued turkeys, rescuing even more turkeys, and raising awareness for the lives in factories that they live (via Farm Sanctuary's website). For $150, you can adopt an entire flock!