It's that turkey-centric time of year, and for the sensitive vegetarians and vegans among us, it can be a downer to think of all the scavengers nibbling on carcasses that could total 45 million nationwide. But there are alternatives to feasting on fowl and an organization dedicated to spreading the word: the Orlando Animal Rights Alliance.

Currently on the OARA website (, there's a special page dedicated to the turkey issue, filled with links for finding recipes, connecting with turkey-loving activists and even sending live-and-let-live Thanks-giving e-cards. All the info will hold from now through the New Year, the season for serious stuffing of all types.

OARA's outreach isn't limited to holiday intervention, with a wealth of subjects covered that lend themselves to the mission of ending animal suffering – from educational outreaches to media involvement to protests. (A new weekly attack on pet stores kicks off noon-4 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 at The Puppy Store.)

The organization is also big on getting like minds and appetites to join together around the table and holds regular meet-ups at area eateries for its 80-plus interested vegetarian and vegan members. (The next scheduled eating events are 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Woodlands and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at Garden Café.)

OARA was key in Mellow Mushroom's recent move to add vegan soy cheese as a permanent choice on its menu. And OARA members are currently circulating a petition to convince the progressive pizzeria to develop other vegan items for its menu. (E-mail to get involved in that initiative.)

This is a group that is definitely making things happen – no bones about it.

Speaking of On The Side


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