Thanksgiving is also important for animals but itís just in a much different way
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By Mickey Zeldes  November 16, 2012 12:00 am

Two important days are coming up that affect animals.  Not dogs and cats, but other animals in our world.  It is estimated more than 45 million turkeys are killed to be eaten just on Thanksgiving day.  That is a staggering number.  To learn more about turkeys and how they are raised, and about an “adopt a turkey” holiday gift idea, go to   The second important day is the Friday after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Black Friday.  It is now being renamed Fur Free Friday, and it is the start of an annual education/boycott campaign about the cruelties of fur.  Learn more about it at

There are many options for a festive Thanksgiving dinner besides the traditional turkey.  Everything from an elaborately homemade “great stuffed gluten turkey’” (which my husband still teases me about) to a simple store-bought Tofurky roast (which is really delicious).  Not trying to mimic turkey?  There’s yummy stuffed squash recipes or an elegant lentil in puff pastry dish worthy to serve to company. That’s if you are stuck on the notion you need a main dish or centerpiece entrée to serve.

There is certainly enough for a vegetarian to eat (assuming the cook doesn’t add meat broth or turkey drippings to everything) with just all the side dishes – a vegetarian stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, salad, corn muffins and, of course, pumpkin pie.  There is no reason for anyone to leave the table hungry or for a host to stress over having a vegetarian join in the celebration.  For some truly delicious recipes, just Google “vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes,” and you will be amazed at the number of sites that will come up.  My favorite cookbook at the moment, with some great holiday recipes, is “The Vegan Table” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

If you are interested in learning more about vegetarianism or want to find some support for your diet choice, there are several groups meeting regularly in our county.  Join and you will find a ton of different groups for all your interests.  The Compassionate Living Outreach has a monthly potluck the first Sunday of each month in Penngrove.  There is a Vegan Life Support dinner the first Friday of each month at a member’s home in Santa Rosa and a vegan potluck, usually with a speaker or presentation, the third Saturday of each month at the Humane Society.  Newcomers, and those just exploring vegetarianism are welcome.

For the Fur-free Friday, I don’t know of any local events going on (Sacramento is the closest), but you can certainly educate yourself on the issue if you Google about fur on the Internet.

Fortunately this year, many designers are coming out with really great faux fur jackets and vests.  Faux fur is becoming a fashion staple now because some of the top designers (Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger) are going fur-free.  I got the cutest faux leopard fur vest at Costco recently.

Although Thanksgiving gives a date to promote both the plight of turkeys (and all meat animals) and fur, these really are year-round issues.  Let’s make these holidays humane and happy for all by keeping the animals in mind while we shop and celebrate.

Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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