PETA campaign urges people to stop killing turkeys for Christmas


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has released a poignant animated film that calls for a new Christmas tradition – one that excludes the killing of turkeys – created by creative agency House 337.

PETA Christmas turkey campaign

“Kill the tradition, not a turkey” sees Tessa the Turkey, voiced by acclaimed actor Jane Horrocks, taking centre stage in a powerful 90-second film, set in a picturesque Christmas town.

With whimsical innocence, Tessa sings “Deck the Halls”, but with the lyrics changed to comment on the quirky festive customs she encounters on her way: from family selfies in matching Christmas jumpers to houses festooned in hundreds of lights.

The film takes a sobering turn when Tessa realises that she, too, is part of a Christmas tradition – the most sinister of them all. It ends by inviting people to “Kill the tradition not a turkey. Try vegan this Christmas”.

We do so many traditions at Christmas without knowing the reason behind it. Research by The Grocer found that more than half of 1,500 young Brits polled believed turkey and all the trimmings was “old-fashioned”, with 39% of the 18 to 30-year-olds declaring they would never eat turkey— it’s time to “Kill the tradition, not a turkey”.

Elisa Allen, PETA VP of Programs and Operations, said: “Our aim is to get people thinking, shake up the status quo, and change hearts and habits, and this video, brought to life by the creative people at House 337, does just that.

Tradition doesn’t excuse cruelty, and we’re sure that this touching spot will encourage viewers to think about who is on their plate – and inspire them to leave turkeys and other animals off the table this Christmas.” Hi there

British actor, Jane Horrocks, as the voiceover for Tessa the Turkey, said: “I’m proud to be giving a voice to Tessa, a curious little turkey who questions why millions of birds are killed for the Christmas table each year when so many other options exist.

“I hope the spot encourages kind souls everywhere to explore vegan dishes that offer some peace on Earth to animals this festive season.”

Steve Hawthorne, Creative Director at House 337, said: “Many of us are guilty of sleepwalking into ordering turkey at Christmas without actually knowing why or, in many cases, even particularly enjoying it.

“So we wanted to highlight that doing something just because it’s tradition without actually questioning why and what the consequences are isn’t really good enough.”

The collaboration between PETA and House 337 follows the success of “Red River Farm”, which was released in spring to highlight the cruelty of using animal-derived materials in fashion. It starred actor and singer Jessie Cave.

Both campaigns use blunt messaging to get people to think twice about behaviour they might take for granted, reminding audiences that vegan choices mean there are viable alternatives.

Launching in cinemas in December and online from 15 November, the campaign will also feature cut-down versions spread across PETA’s social media channels as well as supporting influencer and PR activations.

Known for his considered character style, design and timeless blend of classic cartoon spirit with 3D modelling, Neil Stubbings, Designer and Director at Jelly, said: “Certainly, one of the most ambitious solo endeavours in my career thus far, this project featured an extensive cast of 18 distinct characters and an equal number of intricately detailed environments, making it a truly monumental undertaking.

“However, fuelled by the script’s brilliant concept for a Christmas advertisement with a dark twist, this project was incredibly fulfilling and served as a dream come true.”