Turkey Pleads, "I Beg Your Pardon" in New MFA Thanksgiving Ad Campaign

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Mercy For Animals is rolling out a provocative new pro-vegetarian ad campaign in Chicago and Detroit. Featuring an emboldened turkey declaring, "I Beg Your Pardon - Spare a Turkey," the digital ads appear on billboards and in rail stations and aim to encourage travelers to forgo the traditional turkey dinner this Thursday and replace it with tasty meatless fare. In all, the campaign is expected to amass over three million views.

Why the ruffled feathers? More than 300 million turkeys are killed in the U.S. every year - 40 million for Thanksgiving dinners alone. In nature, turkeys are protective and nurturing parents, as well as fast runners, who are able to use reason to outwit their pursuers. But most turkeys killed for food are raised in unnatural conditions, crammed by the thousands into windowless warehouses, where disease, smothering and heart attacks are common. Turkeys are drugged and bred to grow so large, so quickly that their legs are often unable to withstand their own weight. Countless birds slowly starve to death within inches of food after they become crippled and are unable to move.

At the slaughterhouse, turkeys are roughly snapped into moving shackles and have their throats slit by a spinning blade, often while fully conscious. Turkeys, and other fowl, are excluded from the federal Animal Welfare Act and Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, leading to institutionalized and rampant abuse that would warrant felony cruelty charges if the victims were dogs or cats.

Watch the below MFA undercover investigation video to see for yourself what conditions are like for turkeys inside industrial slaughterhouses.

"Turkeys deserve to be pardoned from a miserable life on factory farms, where they are crowded by the tens of thousands into filthy, disease-ridden sheds, mutilated without painkillers and roughly thrown into transport crates, before having their throats slit while fully conscious at the slaughterhouse," says Mercy For Animals' Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. "We are asking compassionate people to celebrate the holiday without inflicting needless cruelty and violence on animals by enjoying a delicious and healthy vegetarian feast. The turkeys will thank you for it."