As the UK’s worst outbreak of bird flu to date is set to take turkey off the menu, it’s an opportunity for everyone to re-think outdated traditions and enjoy a cruelty-free Christmas dinner.

Turkeys are loyal and protective birds who can fly at high speeds and enjoy dust baths.

Yet for the sake of Christmas dinners, they’re subjected to intense stress.

They’re crammed into filthy sheds with thousands of other birds, fed a cocktail of antibiotics, bred to grow so quickly that their legs often can’t support the weight of their bodies, and left to languish in their own waste, the ammonia burning their flesh.

Then, if they don’t perish before or during the traumatic journey to the slaughterhouse, they’re strung up and electrocuted, their throats are slit, and some are boiled alive.

It’s the very opposite of festive spirit.

The past two Christmases have been strongly affected by Covid-19, a pandemic believed to have been triggered by humans’ appalling cruelty to animals at a Chinese wet market.

Now, three million birds have so far been killed in the UK because of bird flu.

While we continue to farm animals, we risk further outbreaks of deadly diseases that can spread to humans.

Vegan versions of Christmas classics are widely available, along with all the trimmings, so let’s enjoy a season of peace and goodwill to all by embracing a turkey-free dinner and leaving animals off our plates.

Jennifer White

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