vegan thanksgiving food like squash, pie, and snap peas
© iStock.com/GMVozd

Tell It Like It Is, Tracy

Issue 4|Autumn 2023


Tracy Reiman wearing a PETA bunny lapel

Help when you need it: PETA’s executive vice president tackles your thorny situations.


Q: I love my family but not the often awkward and annoying comments I get from nonvegans during holiday dinners. Can I just stay home this year?
– Tired of Talking Turkey

A: Absolutely not! Get out there and be their living conscience! And wow them with some dish you make or take. It’s harder for people to argue with a mouth full of pie. Dealing with nonvegans can be a recipe for stress unless you look at it as a huge opportunity to plant seeds. By staying home, you’d be missing a chance to keep feeding them the facts, honing your charm in the face of their silly asides – and then nothing would change. All social movements involve shaking people out of their comfort zones – including our own. So off you go, and this year, maybe they’ll surprise you!

Mark Twain said, “Dialogue is the yeast that lightens the bread.” But snappy comebacks are good, too. Try these:

  • “It’s not a proper celebration without meat.”

Only if what you’re celebrating is slaughter. Replace the euphemism “eating meat” with what it really means. Would you say, “It’s not a celebration without killing an animal”?

  • “Vegans ruin the holidays.”

Yes, people who are kind to animals are just the worst, bringing their compassion and their delicious dishes to the table. By the way, didn’t you have two pieces of the vegan cream pie?

  • “Eating meat during the holidays is traditional.”

Oh, I get it. We’re following ancient traditions. Do you support bear-baiting and denying women the right to vote, too? Times change, and we should change with them.

  • “Can’t we just have one nice meal and not discuss cruelty to animals?”

Can’t we just have one actually nice meal – that doesn’t include cruelty to animals? Let’s plan a vegan feast!

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