Giant Turkey Asks Merle Hay Diners to ‘Pardon Tom’ for ‘ThanksVegan’

For Immediate Release:
November 21, 2022

Lauren Kent 202-483-7382

Des Moines, Iowa

Ahead of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ annual turkey “pardon,” PETA is encouraging her constituents to follow suit in a can’t-be-missed message that just went up among the turkey-serving restaurants nearby and at Merle Hay Mall.

Part of PETA’s nationwide campaign urging people to celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving, or “ThanksVegan,” the billboard went up after former workers of Plainville Farms, a self-described “humane” turkey supplier, were recently charged with more than 140 counts of cruelty to animals, following a PETA investigation—one of the reasons, along with benefiting their own health and protecting the environment, why many people are choosing animal-free fare this year.

“Every turkey is an individual who has a unique personality, feels pain and fear, and deserves better than to be killed for the holiday table,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is encouraging everyone to ‘pardon Tom’ this Thanksgiving by opting for a delicious vegan meal, and we have plenty of free recipes to help anyone get started.”

Turkeys raised for food are normally slaughtered when they’re between 14 and 18 weeks old, and about 45 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving alone. Workers hang the young birds upside down, drag them through an electrified bath, slit their throats, and dump them into scalding-hot defeathering tanks—often while they’re still conscious. In addition to preventing nearly 200 animals a year from enduring daily suffering and a terrifying death, everyone who goes vegan shrinks their carbon footprint and slashes their risk of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other ailments.

PETA’s ThanksVegan guide is packed with recipes, cooking tips, lists of the best hearty meat-free roasts, and everything else needed to enjoy a delicious, turkey-friendly holiday.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s billboard is located at 5910 Douglas Ave., just feet from McAlister’s Deli and across the street from the turkey-selling restaurants at Merle Hay Mall, including Stu’s Bar-B-Q, IHOP, Applebee’s, and Starbucks.

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