Duchess Of Hamilton Dishes Out Royal Treatment At Vegetarian Feast

‘Having Turkey for Dinner’ Takes On New Meaning When the Bird Is the Guest of Honour

For Immediate Release:
16 December 2004

Sean Gifford 020 7357 9229, ext. 226
Dawn Carr 020 7357 9229, ext. 224

Dirleton, East Lothian – The Duchess of Hamilton and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are having a turkey for Christmas, but the bird, Ankara, will be a guest at the table, not a dish. PETA and the Duchess will serve delicious, soya-based Tofurky with all the traditional trimmings (including the greens that turkeys savour).

Date:   Monday, 20 December
Time:   1 p.m.
Place:  Archerfield Home Farm, Dirleton, East Lothian

Ankara, battered and bruised from a life spent on a factory farm, escaped from the back of a lorry heading to the abattoir and was taken in by the kind-hearted Duchess. Ankara is now 4 years old and living out her days in peace and dignity with two other turkeys, geese, ducks and other animals at the Duke and Duchess’s Archerfield Home Farm.

Why do PETA’s feathers get ruffled when people eat turkeys? Turkeys on factory farms have been bred to grow so quickly that their bones and leg muscles often collapse under the stress of supporting their huge upper bodies. As a result, many are unable to stand or move without pain. Confinement to crowded sheds means that disease is rampant. More than 35 million turkeys are slaughtered in the UK every year.

The suffering doesn’t end when the birds are killed. Consumption of turkey and other meats and animal products has been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and several types of cancer. Among the growing number of Britons who will be celebrating the holidays without killing birds are Amanda Holden, Sir Ian McKellen, the McCartneys and Joanna Lumley.

The Duchess of Hamilton is no stranger to helping animals. As well as campaigning to save the Uist hedgehogs, she has taken on the cruel foie gras industry by refusing to do business with Jenners department store of Edinburgh and heads the Scottish Staffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue Group.

“Christmas is murder on turkeys”, says PETA Europe’s Sean Gifford. “With fabulous fare like Tofurky and other healthy, humane vegan foods on the market, the only one who’ll miss out is the butcher.”

“Many people think of turkeys as no more than a holiday centrepiece, but I have come to know these social birds as the gentle and inquisitive individuals they are”, says the Duchess. “We all want peace on Earth this holiday season, so let’s start simply, by giving the gift of life – to a turkey.”

For more information and to view PETA’s undercover investigation at a turkey farm, please visit GoVeg.co.uk. PETA’s free vegetarian starter kit full of delicious vegan recipes can be ordered online or by calling 0800 328 9621.