Isabel Webster hits back at 'tortured turkeys' claim in vegan Christmas dinner row

Isabel Webster hits back at 'tortured turkeys' claim in vegan Christmas dinner row

WATCH NOW: 'Kill the tradition NOT the turkey': Christmas turkey debate unfolds between Isabel and Peta activist

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 16/11/2023

- 09:54

Updated: 16/11/2023

- 10:06

Animal rights group Peta has released its Christmas advert - sparking plenty of debate among the public

Isabel Webster fiercely defended the public's right to enjoy a traditional Christmas turkey this year after Peta released a brutal animated ad about the treatment of the animal.

In the advert - which was the centre of discussion between Isabel, Eamonn Holmes, butcher Jamie Cooper, and Peta activist Molly Eldson - an animated Santa Claus hangs up a cute-looking turkey to be slaughtered in an abattoir after the bird spent the beginning of the ad enjoying other traditional festivities.

After watching the advert, Isabel turned to Cooper first to argue that Peta's advert vastly exaggerates the inhumanity in which turkeys are slaughtered.

Butcher Cooper agreed: "There are debates over the years that have gone on for a long time about how things are killed for us to consume. There are ways of doing a good job, there are ways of doing a bad job.

"But independent butchers like ourselves, we will always make sure we find the best, not just quality, but the humane way that animals are being treated."

He then joked: "I honestly haven't seen the video, this was the first time watching that... my heart's breaking, I'm distraught. It actually said, 'Sod tradition', I'm sure it did."

Eamonn and Isabel

Eamonn and Isabel welcomed a butcher and a Peta campaigner to debate the issue


He concluded by saying "tradition isn't just about presents and everything, it's actually about the turkey for a lot of families" before Eldson shared her view.

"Tradition really isn't an excuse for cruelty," the Peta campaigner hit back. "Nowadays in the supermarkets, we've got so many vegan options, from vegan turkey, vegan pigs in blankets, you can even get vegan goose fat for your roast potatoes, there are so many options.

"And this means that we can enjoy all of the taste and nostalgia associated with Christmas, just without any of the cruelty. Turkeys are individuals, they form loving family bonds just like we do and they deserve some peace this Christmas as well."

Eamonn sympathised with Eldson's argument as he revealed he'd been watching a documentary about an aquarium in Plymouth and was staggered by the "intelligence" of certain animals.

This prompted Eldson to reply: "If you think about it, there's this huge disconnect that Christmas is this time for peace and goodwill - yet we're celebrating with the corpse of a tortured animal in the middle of the table."

But at this point, Isabel hit back at the language used as she argued: "Well hang on a minute, I think torture may be pushing it a bit far!

"I think if people decide they might cut down on their meat consumption or whatever, Christmas is a feast, it's a time when the family's around, the turkey is a big bird... if you do decide to go down that path presumably the best way to do it, Jamie, is through an independent butcher as opposed to somewhere where these birds are mass-produced and housed indoors and have horrible lives?"

Jamie weighed in to agree and say he and many butchers are against supermarkets as they've "ruined" their industry: "It's the supermarkets that have made a mockery of what we stand for and what we do seven days a week."

Isabel Webster

Isabel Webster took issue with Peta's stance on the Christmas turkey


He continued: "You can't replace a turkey with a vegan piece of meat, the amount of ingredients and things that aren't good for you in this vegan piece of meat that doesn't taste like turkey and doesn't have enough goodness in that we're inventing to put in people's bodies..."

Eamonn interjected to put Eldson's point across once more that turkeys don't have to belong on the Christmas table from a moral standpoint as the animal rights campaigner put to Cooper: "The processed meats are only ever intended to be as healthy as their meat counterparts.

"Actually in general they are more healthy for you. They contain a great amount of protein, seven times less saturated fat than fish and pig flesh, half the amount of salt, and also aren't carcinogenic. We know that processed meats are carcinogenic and that by consuming them you're putting yourself at risk of cancer."

Isabel wasn't bought by Eldson's argument as she concluded the debate by pondering: "I guess the question kind of ends up being, 'Where do you stop?'

"Do you stop wrapping presents in paper and cutting down Christmas trees? Do we stop basically making plastic baubles because it's trashing the planet?

"You can basically find a moral argument about anything that we do on Christmas Day... or do you say hang on a minute, it's one day a year, coming together, let's just be thankful for what we've got and try and be mindful the rest of the year?"

Cooper concluded his point by suggesting we as a planet are over-producing foods and consumers are over-eating products that have been manufactured, branding humans as "greedy" - hence why debates like this arise.

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