Kevin Smith and Harley Quinn Smith Talk Turkey Adoption and Celebrating a Compassionate Thanksgiving

The Smiths with turkeys

Kevin Smith and Harley Quinn Smith Talk Turkey Adoption and Celebrating a Compassionate Thanksgiving

“As somebody who was always fairly compassionate and empathetic; has a big, soft heart; and cries at every animal movie, it just made no sense that I ate meat,” filmmaker Kevin Smith reflected during a recent visit with the rescued residents of Farm Sanctuary’s Southern California Shelter.

“At the end of the day, of course, I love animals and I don’t want to eat animals. With distance from the eating machine and propaganda, I was able to see that there’s a different, healthier way to live.”

Earlier this year, following a severe heart attack that left him looking to make a healthful life change, Smith – with the encouragement of his animal-activist daughter, actress Harley Quinn Smith – went vegan. Since making the switch to plant-based eating, he’s “the healthiest he’s ever been,” Harley Quinn told Page Six.

Harley Quinn, a passionate vegan and vocal Farm Sanctuary supporter, was excited to help introduce her father to her animal friends at Farm Sanctuary last month.

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith Talk Turkey for Farm Sanctuary

VIDEO 3:59

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith Talk Turkey for Farm Sanctuary

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Transcript

[CALMING MUSIC] Get camera ready, man. Open up to camera. There you go. Yeah. There's a fine looking turkey.


[CALMING MUSIC]


[TURKEY GOBBLING]


Hey. [LAUGHS] Oh, my god. Hello.


What I know about turkeys is that they are such kind and beautiful creatures. They're very friendly. [LAUGHS] And I don't really think that enough people recognize their value and importance to the world.


And you can pet them. Who knew you could pet a turkey? Just like when you pet a dog or cat, man. There's something really soothing about it. It's horrible to say-- sitting right next to this fine, young lady here-- but I've consumed so many turkeys over the course of my life, never once thinking about it.


This will be the first year, that officially across the boards in our house, we are breaking the chain with tradition. And as much as not-- nobody's going to be eating any bird. I've been now a vegan over six months. I honestly, I swear to you, it's nothing I miss. Certainly not sitting here, petting these wonderful beasts, am I sitting there going, oh, I'd love turkey again.


You're always told by older people, it's OK to eat animals. We're supposed to eat animals. And that's just something you're fed. That's tradition. And, you know, for a long time that's what my generation believed. Now, we know a lot better. You know how many things in this lifetime were traditional when you were born, ain't done anymore? Like, some stuff you just let go.


It's an excuse, I think. So when you do break the chain, and when you do step away from it, you can then see how wrong and harmful your actions have been for so long. And especially on Thanksgiving, over 40 million turkeys are slaughtered. In addition to the other turkeys that are already slaughtered the rest of the year. I think that how we adapt to new traditions, is by taking the aspects of which we love, like gathering around with our families, eating delicious food.


We'll be doing all of that on Thanksgiving. The only difference is, no carcass on the table. That's right no carcass.


No carcass.


What am I thankful for this year? It's easy, man. I'm thankful I'm alive. And then I'm thankful to my kid who was like, yeah go vegan. I'm thankful that I got good advice. I'm thankful I followed it, to be honest with you. What are you thankful for?


I am also thankful you're alive. The day you had your heart attack was the worst day of my entire life.


Mine too.


And, yeah. I am just so thankful it did not go the other way.


Change happens slow. It never happens overnight. So you reshape the conversation. This year's Thanksgiving will reshape the conversation going forward for every Smith-Schwalbach-Stanley Thanksgiving. You have my solemn word, ladies. I will never eat another turkey. And I'll go out of my way to see that others might not, as well.


This Thanksgiving, break the chain of old traditions and try something new. Put the emphasis on love, compassion and be her future.


Here's an easy first step, man. Try taking the turkey off your plate and adopt one instead. Go to adoptaturkey.org to learn more, man. Let's break the chain. Love a turkey. You're so cute. Spread the word, huggable not eatable.


That was a good turkey voice.

VIDEO 3:59

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith Talk Turkey for Farm Sanctuary

During their visit, the father-daughter duo bonded with rescued farm animals and reflected on the fact that no turkeys will be harmed for their upcoming family Thanksgiving. Instead, the family is taking part in Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project, through which animal lovers can sponsor a rescued turkey rather than eating a turkey at Thanksgiving.

Harley and Bruno

While turkeys don’t often receive recognition for their intelligence, their friendliness, or their vibrant personalities, these birds are actually very curious, thoughtful, and loving when they’re treated with the kindness and care they deserve. In fact, they have much in common with the companion animals that most of us know better (they even purr like cats when they’re feeling relaxed and content!).

“They’re just like our dachshund, Shecky,” Kevin observed during his visit with the rescued turkeys of Farm Sanctuary. “People can pet them. Who knew you could pet a turkey? They’re just like any domesticated animal. Just like when people pet a dog or a cat, there’s something really soothing about it.”

This’ll be the first year that we’re breaking the chain with bad tradition and nobody’s going to be eating any bird.

Kevin Smith

“Turkeys are such kind, beautiful, friendly, sweet, and gentle creatures… Farm animals are so similar to dogs and cats and all the animals humans have claimed as valuable, allow to live in their homes, and see as worth living,” added Harley Quinn.

The Smiths with a Turkey

While Harley Quinn went vegan in 2016 and other family members, including her mother, are vegetarian, this will be the family’s first 100 percent vegan Thanksgiving – and it’s clear that they can’t wait to celebrate.

“This’ll be the first year that we’re breaking the chain with bad tradition and nobody’s going to be eating any bird,” Kevin told Farm Sanctuary. “This year’s Thanksgiving will reshape the conversation going forward for every Smith Thanksgiving that’ll ever happen after it. The fact that anybody can take small steps toward progress — in this case, veganism — is to be celebrated.”

“I think our family has always been extremely progressive in our way of thinking and we’ve always abandoned those traditions that may be a bit outdated,” Harley Quinn added. “I feel like we’ve always been willing to progress with everything that comes and adapt to different times. Our family has clearly done that with our eating habits. In a changing world, we have to change with it, and not give up our beliefs or what we love. I think we adapt to new traditions by including aspects we love, like gathering around our families and eating delicious food.”

The fact that anybody can take small steps toward progress — in this case, veganism — is to be celebrated.

Kevin Smith

Last year, Kevin was a willing, if skeptical, participant when Harley Quinn challenged him to join her for a plant-based meal through Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Meals Program. Father and daughter had a memorable discussion about compassion, tradition, and their shared love of animals at the popular L.A. vegan comfort-food spot Doomie’s Home Cookin’.

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith for Compassionate Meals

VIDEO 5:34

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith for Compassionate Meals

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Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi. I'm Harley Quinn Smith, and this is my dad, Kevin Smith. And we're here at Doomie's Home Cooking to share a compassionate meal.


When did you even become big? Is that year ago?


I've been meditating for over a year, and I have been vegan for 8 months.


Did you adjusted? Or where do you get the idea? Certainly not for me.


You know, the reason I went vegetarian is because mom has been a vegetarian for a very long time, and she never pushed her beliefs upon me. And I think that it inspired me to make the decision on my own to become a vegetarian. And then I figured that about a half a year since becoming vegetarian, there was no sensing not going all the way.


It's about the only time my dad once your daughter said there's no sense, and not going all the way. When it comes to being a vegan, it's all we're talking about. Back to you.


It's all the talking about.


Why did I have to come eat this compassion meal with you? I've shared a lot of compassionate meals with you, where you told me your problems at school, and I'm like, that's OK, honey. That's a pretty compassionate meal.


For now, we're being compassionate towards others, not just sharing compassion between each other. But we're showing compassion to animals that didn't have to lose their lives, and now we're-- you're able to see that vegan food can be just as good as mom's vegan food.


I'll be honest with you. Coming in here, this isn't a commercial. I'm getting paid, so there's no strings attached. Coming in and I was like, oh, my god. I'm not going to vomit at the table, because I can't stand vegan food. But this is really tasty.


It's really good.


I'm going to go for the pork. Let me see where the pork. Are you allowed to say what it's supposed to be? I guess the thought is hey, I didn't kill somebody today.


I think that's the best way to think about vegan food is not thinking of it as an imitation of non-vegan food, but thinking of it as its own type of food. Because you're not constantly comparing it to something else, you're just appreciating it for what it is. And knowing that, you didn't have to harm anything in order to eat it.


That's the big drive. You know, naturally, I've always been very compassionate for animals. I'm very empathetic with them too except the weird split of like, yeah, but I love turkey. But I remember being at Catholic school, and being like our, you know, isn't it? But Jesus is always carrying around lambs and stuff, why do we eat them and blah, blah, blah. And the answer was always like, well animals don't have a soul. And I was just fed that as a kid, so I was like, ah, all right, I'll buy it.


Like, you know, most animals well no, you look in their eyes, a couple more soul the most human beings. So later in life, I realized really that's just kind of a convenient excuse, you know, to tell a kid rather than upset the social order. In the social order of course was like, hey, we need stuff. Hey, we like animals, but we eat their meat as well. So it took years to shake that kind of programming to be like, it's OK to dig an animal. Because they're furry and stuff like that.


But you can eat them, because they have no soul, and there's no heaven or hell for a cow. But we know that hell for a cow is here on earth. Hooked up to machines, and stuff like that. So there's a lot to eat on this planet. You don't have to be something that used to be alive or an animal. Well I mean again, but where you cut off like--


Like between plants and animals.


Yeah, plants are alive. They breed.


But they don't have nervous systems, they cannot feel.


I just don't understand sooner or later, I know I'm in a good and comfy with this, and then they're going to be like not the plants either.


Why do you feel it's OK to eat animals.


Because that's why I was raised.


But if you're like, oh, the plants have feelings too. How about the other animals that you eat every day, and then take their milk, and all of this stuff? Where do you draw the line?


I draw the line if it's got eyebrows. Oh, I think that's wrong. I can't-- I don't like plants or anything, so it's easier to-- I don't know, again. I was just raised eating meat.


There's really no--


There was no good excuse?


No. There's no good excuse in a lot of-- a lot of non-vegan is trying to hide from the truth as much as they can.


What do you mean? What's a non-vegan? Is that me?


Yeah. Everybody else.


I have been classified?


Yes.


I've been profiled?


Be sure to hide from the truth a lot, because it's hard knowing the stuff that does happen to animals through the dairy industry and the meat industry.


I mean honestly, I did not expect to be able to choke down. And let's see how we're doing with this one, because this looks again, that taste right there. We'll see how it goes. It's 100% convincing.


Really?


Yes.


I think a lot of people mindlessly consume without knowing, without thinking about it, because that's what they know.


Yes.


Just kind of stay in the dark, and continue to have this ignorance towards what they're eating. And that can sometimes how you feel good about what you're eating, but it's not, it's not necessarily, right?


So yeah. With good places like this, if they could like, if this was being vegan, I'd get my head on around it.


Hi. I'm Harley Quinn Smith, and I just took my dad out for a compassionate meal. Now it's your turn to take someone out for a compassionate meal.


If I can eat a compassionate meal, you give it a shot.


[MUSIC PLAYING]

VIDEO 5:34

Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith for Compassionate Meals

While initially dubious about vegan food, he was enthusiastic about Doomie’s dishes, such as a jackfruit pulled-“pork” sandwich that he declared “100 percent convincing.” Since then, he’s added to his list of favorite vegan restaurants, in particular becoming an avowed fan of plant-based chain Veggie Grill.

“I’ve been now a vegan over 6 months; honestly, I swear to you, there’s nothing I miss,” Kevin said as he and Harley Quinn petted a pair of rescued turkeys at Farm Sanctuary.

Protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant foods.

Want to join the Smith family in honoring turkeys rather than eating them this Thanksgiving? For just $35, you can sponsor a rescued turkey who lives at Farm Sanctuary through the Adopt a Turkey Project – or sponsor the whole flock and have adoption certificates sent to family and friends for $150! Each sponsorship includes a special Adopt a Turkey certificate with a color photo of and fun details about your new friend; a one-year subscription to Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary’s biannual print magazine; and our deepest thanks for contributing funds for the care of the rescued animals at our sanctuaries, and our efforts to educate and advocate for turkeys and other farm animals.