Vegans throw a party for Orland turkeys

SACBEE.COM | Gina Kim | 11/22/09

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ORLAND - The pumpkin was a hit. The fruit salad and cranberries did well. The stuffing was so-so.

Overall, a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by an animal-rights group Saturday for 16 turkeys was devoid of leftovers, equating an overwhelming success.

Located on 300 acres west of Orland, in the upper Sacramento Valley, the Farm Sanctuary is home to about 400 pigs, sheep, cows, rabbits, geese, ducks, goats, chickens, donkeys and turkeys.

"We want people to see turkeys as living, feeling, breathing creatures," said the group's president and co-founder Gene Baur.

The donor-supported organization was founded in 1986 and advocates for farm animals and veganism. It runs a 180-acre farm in New York and opened the Orland sanctuary in 1993. All the rescued animals are living out their lives with no responsibility beyond frolicking in one of the many ponds or bathing in the sun.

Each is fixed and has a name. Byproducts are reincorporated into the farm: Sheep's wool is spread in the pastures, and eggs from laying hens are hard-boiled and mixed into chicken feed. No animal is ever milked.

The farms are open for public tours in the summer and during special events during the winter. The principal focus is education, said shelter director Leanne Cronquist.

"We cannot tell people how to live their lives, but we can encourage them to think about their food choices and eat with values in mind," Baur said.

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