But things are changing. They've had too many doctor visits when they've been advised to eat healthier. My grandfather and uncle died early of heart attacks and other family members have died from cancer. As they're both growing older, they're becoming increasingly determined not to suffer the same fate.
They've also followed my work at the Humane Society of the United States to eliminate cages for mother pigs and egg-laying chickens, both of whom are confined so tightly they're barely able to move throughout their lives. As animal lovers, they've naturally been dismayed to see what happens to these animals and have come to realize that all animals, including those raised for food, deserve at least a decent life.
They've been torn between continuing to eat their current meat-, egg-, and dairy-heavy diets-perhaps paving a path to disease and early death-and taking steps to eat healthier and more humanely.
And they're not alone: this is a crossroads at which millions of people are arriving. Many, like my father and brother, are taking small-yet-meaningful steps by reducing meat in their diets and refining what meat they continue buying to avoid factory farms. We're also encouraged that there are some small farmers now striving to move the turkey industry away from the worst animal welfare problems. For those who are going to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving, it's of course best to ensure that bird didn't come from a factory farm, and instead seek out a farmer who meets higher animal welfare standards.