Will NBC Sports Veganize Its Tasteless ‘Turkey Leg Award’?

PETA Thinks Thanksgiving Football Game's MVP Deserves a Whole Healthy, Hearty Tofurky Instead of a Bit of a Bird's Body

For Immediate Release:
November 19, 2018

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – PETA sent a letter today asking NBC Sports to change its annual Turkey Leg Award—in which an actual turkey’s leg is presented to the MVP(s) of Thanksgiving’s primetime football game—to the Tofurky Roast Award. PETA is offering to donate delicious, cholesterol-free Tofurkys in order to make the switch easy for NBC.

“Some traditions need to be thrown away, and these days, presenting an athlete with the severed limb of a once-living animal seems like more of an insult than an honor,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on NBC Sports to sideline this tasteless tradition and score a touchdown for animals and athletes alike by passing out vegan Tofurky roasts that give birds something to be thankful for, too.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat.” For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chair Mark Lazarus follows.

November 19, 2018

Mark Lazarus, Chair

NBC Broadcasting & Sports

Dear Mr. Lazarus,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—as well as every vegan and vegetarian for religious, health, environmental, or ethical reasons, among them, many sports fans like myself—regarding your annual Turkey Leg Award. Please do not lock us all out (and offend many of us)—instead, please announce that you’re renaming it, preferably this year, but if not, make this your last. We would love for you to make it a “Tofurky Roast Award” and adopt a new game plan for players’ health and animals, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, please make it something neutral that everyone can appreciate. We’d be happy to donate delicious cholesterol-free Tofurky roasts to use for your award, which would give all players—including those who don’t eat animals—something to be thankful for.

As you must know, turkeys are smart, sensitive birds who have been known to enjoy clucking along to music and love to have their feathers stroked. In nature, the chicks stay with their mothers for up to five months, and they like to eat meals together as a family, much as humans do during the holidays. Yet in today’s slaughterhouses, fully conscious turkeys are slammed upside down into shackles and dragged through electrified stun baths before their throats are slit—often while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain.

Although more and more people are going vegan and there are many vegan and vegetarian holiday celebrations, every year in the U.S., some 44 million turkeys are still killed for Thanksgiving, including many doled out as prizes or for promotions. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegans reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 62 percent, their chance of being hospitalized for a heart attack by 33 percent, their risk of developing heart disease by 29 percent, and their risk of suffering from cancer by 18 percent. A vegan diet can also decrease the risk of becoming obese, since vegans are about 18 percent thinner and 10 to 20 pounds lighter, on average, than their meat-eating counterparts. And every vegan saves nearly 200 animals per year from extreme crowding on filthy factory farms and a terrifying trip to the slaughterhouse.

Vegan eating has risen 600 percent in the last three years alone, and an ever-growing list of athletes—including boxer and bodybuilder Amanda Riester, Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, tennis great Novak Djokovic, and NBA star Kyrie Irving as well as football players Tom Brady, Brandon Mebane, Theo Riddick, Derrick Morgan, and DaQuan Jones—attribute their energy and endurance to making the switch to eating vegan food.

Since millions of Americans now pass on meat for a variety of reasons, it makes sense to give turkeys a (permanent) timeout. We hope you’ll gobble up our offer and score a touchdown for compassion this year by handing out the first-ever Tofurky Roast Award or certainly sacking the Turkey Leg name for this award. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

President

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“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