With the holidays around the corner it’s important to choose your food products wisely and practice conscious consumerism.

The traditional American Christmas dinner and other holiday celebratory meals often consist of turkey, poultry, beef, and ham in large quantities. According to the University of Illinois, 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving, 22 million on Christmas and 19 million on Easter.

Turkey breeding has caused turkey breasts to grow so large that not only do turkeys often fall over, this massive size (demanded by consumers) means that commercially bred turkeys can no longer procreate on their own. In fact, 100% of Turkeys must be artificially inseminated. There is nothing natural about that.


In this festive period when eating large amounts of food, let’s all do our part to make sure that the animals don’t suffer by reducing our meat intake and/or choosing only humanely sourced products. As consumers we have a choice and a voice!

How can you make a difference? There are a few things you can do to make sure that your holiday meals are ethically sourced. After all, don’t we owe it to the animals?

Better Choices for Holiday Meals

Plant-based meals

Today, there are tons of options if you want to remove animal products from your holiday meals. From delicious and hearty vegetable recipes to meat replacements like Beyond Beef and soy or seitan, there are a lot of choices available in nearly all major grocery stores.

Buy only humanely raised

Buy animal products and eggs which are humanely made and raised. Look out for labels such as ‘pasture-raised’, ‘Certified Humane’ or ‘Animal Welfare Approved.’  Remember that ‘organic’ has nothing to do with the conditions in which the animal has been kept. Also the more people who buy ethically sourced food, the more demand, and the lower the price will become!

Buy from local farms

Pigs in Field

When possible buy from local farms which practice traditional farming methods. You can visit the farm in person, this is a great way to see for yourself how the animals are reared and where your products come from. You can also call these farms and ask if they deliver – many do. Crate Free Illinois supports traditional farms that pasture raise their animals and allow them to exhibit their normal, natural behaviors.

Here are a few traditional  and sustainable farms supported by Crate Free Illinois from various areas around Chicagoland and the state, see our app for many more:

Download the Crate Free Illinois app

Use our app for a list of farms, restaurants, and farmer’s markets that sell humanely raised animal products.  You can search by using our map to zero in on farms nearest to you!

Spread the word

Share this article and new information about labeling and tasty plant-based products with your family and friends.

Remember that if everyone decides to take a small step and source their food products with caution and care, together, we can stop the suffering of farm animals raised for food.

Happy Holidays from Crate Free Illinois!

Author bio: Layla Gallagher is an animal welfare advocate who has been involved with animal welfare since the age of 13. She has worked with several organizations concerned with the ethical treatment of animals and respect for the environment. She joined the Crate Free Illinois team in January 2016 as a volunteer, she focuses on fundraising and events for CFI and enjoys building collaborations and between CFI and other animal welfare organizations, attending events and writing.




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We are now Crate Free USA!


We have some news to share that we are pretty excited about…

We have changed our name to Crate Free USA!

But our mission remains the same: to reduce the suffering

of animals on factory farms.


We are still based in Illinois and will continue our grassroots efforts to support local farmers who pasture raise and treat their animals and the environment with respect. And, we’ll be as vocal as ever about the growth of factory farms in Illinois and beyond and all of the negative impacts on animals, the environment, and rural communities.


That said, we have also been working on national campaigns for a few years now — starting with our success in 2018 in getting Trader Joe’s to commit to a largely crate-free pork supply chain.  And now we are deeply engaged in two other campaigns, both national in scope, to get Aldi and Costco to take a strong stand for pig welfare and commit to a public timeline to go 100% crate-free.  


Our new name more clearly reflects the scope of our work and we are excited to continue our work on behalf of farmed animals across America. We hope you will continue to support us in this important work. Onwards!

Thank you!