It’s not everyday that you can plan your schedule around seeing a naked person in a busy part of Columbia.
That’s exactly what Midlands residents can do on Tuesday. That’s because PETA is staging a protest in Five Points where one of the organization’s volunteers will be in the nude as part of the event.
The PETA volunteer will lay down at the intersection of Harden and Devine streets at noon as part of a protest against Thanksgiving turkey consumption. The nude volunteer will get into a “trussed-up” pose beside two giant “turkey carcass props” on top of a cutting board that reads, “Go Vegan This Thanksgiving.”
PETA said the scene will include a banner proclaiming, “We Are All the Same.”
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“Turkeys are individuals, not centerpieces,” PETA spokesperson Emily Lavender told The State Monday. “Turkeys are sensitive, smart animals who can feel pain. They form families and friendships like humans, when given the chance.”
The organization said it wants Columbia residents to ask how they would feel if a human being were stuffed, roasted, and served for Thanksgiving dinner?
“All animals have flesh, organs, and feelings, and none wants to die violently for someone else’s meal,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said in a news release. “PETA is calling on caring people to give turkeys a break this Thanksgiving and make their holiday table a place of compassion for all beings.”
Although there might be an initial shock over the protest’s imagery, Lavender said the goal is to have a conversation with people and get them thinking. It is part of a national campaign that includes ads placed near the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City with a picture of a turkey and the slogan, “I’m me, not meat.”
The organization’s issue isn’t only with the consumption of turkeys, it’s focused on the industry that exists to breed and groom turkeys for the sole purpose of mass consumption.
“Factory farms deny animals everything that’s natural and important to them, confining them to filthy, cramped cages, stalls, and sheds – where a steady diet of drugs keeps them alive only long enough to be sent to the slaughterhouse,” PETA said in a news release.
Lavender said turkeys are bred to grow unnaturally large too fast. This can cause their legs to break or for turkeys to suffer heart attacks. She also said turkeys experience fear and feel pain, especially when they are conscious when their throats are slit or placed in a stun bath where they’re scalded to remove their feathers.
“We want people to choose cruelty-free holiday meals,” said Lavender, adding that PETA will hand out information about those options at Tuesday’s protest, as well as vegan starter kits. “More and more people are having turkey-free Thanksgivings. We want to inform them about healthier options that are better for the environment.
“We want people to be excited about a delicious alternative and not worry about the dark side of the holiday when millions of turkeys are cut up.”
What: Giant cutting board demonstration
Where: Intersection of Harden and Devine streets in Columbia’s Five Points
When: Noon, Tuesday