‘Teacher of the Year’ Surprises 25 Students With Free Vegan Turkeys

For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2021

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Providence, R.I. – Today, 25 students from Roger Williams Middle School brought home a surprise for their families’ Thanksgiving tables: ready-to-roast vegan turkeys, courtesy of educator Laura Barlow, the 2021 Teacher of the Year chosen by TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division.

Barlow wanted to show her students firsthand how delicious vegan food is and how easy it is to celebrate a happy, humane holiday, so she gave out the roasts—donated by TeachKind as part of PETA’s “ThanksVegan” campaign—as prizes in games she played with her students throughout the day.

Photos are available here.

“Kids love animals, and once they realize that turkeys love their families, feel pain and fear, and value their own lives, they’re eager to leave these gentle birds off the holiday table,” says PETA Senior Director of Youth Programs Marta Holmberg. “Families are facing so many challenges now, from post-lockdown learning to rising supermarket prices, and PETA and TeachKind are honored to give Laura Barlow’s students and their families a break by helping them enjoy a delicious ThanksVegan meal.”

A reported 47% of Americans want to incorporate more vegan foods into their meals, and ThanksVegan meals spare animals immense suffering. Turkeys can live up to 10 years, but those raised for food are usually slaughtered when they’re babies—between 12 and 26 weeks old—and a recent PETA exposé of Plainville Farms (a supplier to Wegmans) caught workers kicking, stomping on, and beating turkeys sold by companies with “humanely raised” labels.

Barlow is no stranger to incorporating animal rights issues into her classroom. She won the Teacher of the Year title for leading discussions about animal rights themes in plays, passing out vegan meals to those in need, and helping her art students exercise their creativity in ways that boost their empathy for animals—including by creating advocacy posters on topics such as the importance of animal adoption and the cruelty of bullfighting—among many other efforts.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a ThanksVegan menu guide filled with recipes, shopping tips, and more. For more information about TeachKind, please visit TeachKind.org or follow the group on Facebook or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind