Happy Holidays, Sarah Palin: Animal Rights Are In The NewsWhen you're a failed VP candidate trying to look like a competent governor while also shoring up your potential presidential ambitions, it's essential to orchestrate some good holiday photo ops. Like maybe adorably pardoning a turkey — and then blithely answering questions while more turkeys get slaughtered directly behind you. (Wonder what the writer of her nasty RNC speech, vegetarian and animal rights-author Matthew Scully, has to say?) Well, Sarah Palin picked an especially bad year to pose with the birds. Between California's new rules for farm animals and disturbing revelations about turkey farms and puppy mills, animal rights are on everyone's lips — even if meat is on them too.California's Proposition 2 requires that farm animals have room to move around by 2015, but confinement may be the least of some birds' worries. A new PETA expose has revealed widespread abuse at turkey farms in West Virginia. PETA's video of the abuse (not for the faint of heart) includes workers stomping on turkeys' heads and pretending to rape them. One worker describes punishing a wayward bird by shoving a broomstick two feet down its neck while shouting at the other birds, "Let that be a lesson to y'all." In more news to make you sad about humanity, yesterday, the Humane Society reported that Petland, a national pet store chain, has been selling customers dogs from puppy mills while telling them the pooches came from good breeders. The mills often keep breeding dogs in cages for their whole lives with no exercise or human contact. Many of these cages are filthy, and sick or even dead dogs are sometimes caged up with healthy ones. Many of us can agree that stomping a bird or caging a dog with its dead brother are inhumane, but many of us will also eat turkey this Thanksgiving. Bioethicist Peter Singer, however, in a new article in Newsweek, thinks this is about to change. He believes we'll soon come to see animal mistreatment as akin to sexism and racism (apparently, California voters already care more about animal rights than gay rights), and thus our society will eventually become vegan. As a substitute, he thinks we may turn to meat grown in vats from real animal cells. Until that happens, vegetarians (like me) will have to rely on Tofurkey, side dishes (the best part of Thanksgiving anyway), and of course the suspicious stares of grandparents who wonder what weird religion we are practicing now. Sarah Palin Watches Turkeys Die, For Fun [Gawker] An Update On A Case Of Alleged Turkey Abuse [LA Times] Petland Linked To Puppy Mills [Humane Society] The Rights Of Animals [Newsweek] A Recipe For A Family Fight [Newsweek] Related: Sarah Palin's Red-Meat Speech Written By Vegetarian Ex-Bush Speechwriter [LA Times]