Farm Sanctuary and Maryland's Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary both hosted parties on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, in which animal lovers could interact with turkeys -- and other animals -- and watch them feast on food.
As I read about and viewed photos and a video of the celebration at Poplar Spring, I was struck by the actions of the children who attended.
Deb, who blogs about the sanctuary at "Invisible Voices," posted a video of children following two young pigs around and petting them. She also posted a photo of children watching intently as chickens and turkeys ate.
In addition to the two pigs the children petted, some also got to caress Opal, a turkey who escaped a Virginia slaughterhouse.
Opal sat contentedly while many people showered her with love and offered her handfuls from the feast of grapes and bread and melon and lettuce and corn and apples that made up the turkey's feast. Little kids would crouch down next to her, making them almost the same size, and just sit with their hand resting on her back.I didn't realize until I started writing this post that Opal may be the same turkey who caught my friend's eye.
Kathy Poynton, whom I met at the 2008 Animal Rights Conference, had a "blast" at Poplar Spring's event and shared some of her photos with me.
One turkey loves to be petted and rather than running over to eat, [she] wanted the little girls to pet [her]. Very, very cute.I love this photo because it starkly contradicts what one of my aunts said during Thanksgiving dinner: that turkeys look "scary." These girls don't look frightened at all.
In fact, Kathy learned that she was quite loving.
The caretakers told us that before the turkey got to the sanctuary ([she] was saved from a slaughter truck -- long story), [she] slept at the foot of the bed for two weeks and loved to be petted and would also hang out on the couch while everyone was watching TV.Kathy also "found out while at this sanctuary just how gentle turkeys can be and [that] they have their own personalities."
(Photo of Opal courtesy of "Invisible Voices.")
(All other photos courtesy of Kathy Poynton.)