Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let’s Talk Turkey; a living, feeling, animal

As a vegetarian, Thanksgiving dinner and its baseless tradition of eating fowl isn’t one of my favorite meals. And I am sure the turkey likes it even less.
Every fourth Thursday in November people like myself, who don’t believe animals should be eaten, are asked to sit at the spread on the dinner table and pick around the baked bird carcass just to fill ours plates with cranberry sauce, corn, mashed potatoes and everything else, which hasn’t been tainted by the juices of this once feathered friend. Why? Does eating a once sentient being have any basis other than what the meat industry has force fed us as a yearly ritual?
Every year in the U.S. between 250-300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter, which amounts to about 5 billion pounds of dead flesh. Their meat is valued at close to $8 billion dollars, so no wonder Americans are force fed turkey meat; the factory farm industry is making billions of dollars off of the holiday dinner table.
But what about the cruelty these sentient animals endure? Vast majorities are crowded into factory farm confinement operations where each gets less than three square feet of space. You just have to watch this short video to see how this holiday feast is actually a cruel deception.
Once their genetically engineered bodies reach market weight (which is an average of fifteen pounds) they are packed into crates and trucked to slaughterhouses. Once in this infirmary, they die a not so pleasant death, just to feed us.
So how did the turkey become a symbol of Thanksgiving Day gluttony? Wild turkeys, as colonists would have encountered in ‘New England” four centuries ago surely did not resemble the stuffing crammed bird many serve on today’s dinner table. These birds of yesteryear were able to fly, difficult to catch, and their tenacity had Benjamin Franklin suggest they be revered as our national symbol.
What was the Pilgrims first celebratory meal in 1621 and did they eat manifestations of today’s factory farmed animals? One of the first recordings I found was a celebration of harvest not a “day of thanksgiving”, which colonists would have viewed more as the end of a period of fasting and prayer.
This festival was for Native Americans and Colonists to give thanks for the bounty they had reaped from their farmed lands, and important members of the community gathered for a main course of local grown items which they themselves grew. They did not have national food chains to buy neatly cellophane wrapped processed food from, as we do today.
It seems there are many unfounded legends as to why turkeys are carved up by the millions every year, but none so far to convince me they deserve to die and be eaten.  So this Thanksgiving I will once again make my traditional vegan meal and eat it proudly knowing that no animal, feathered, furred or hoofed suffered for my dinner plate.

Care to sponsor the life of a turkey instead of eating one?

Some fun trivia facts about turkeys.

~The long fleshy skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak is called a snood
~ The color of a wild turkey’s naked head and neck area change blue when mating
~ Male turkeys are nicknamed “toms” while the females are called “hens”
~ When turkeys reach maturity they can have as many as 3,500 feathers
~ Faster than a speeding bullet--- wild turkeys can run up to 55 miles an hour

1 comment:

Donna Soszynski said...

Thanks for the insight...while it may not stop some from eating animals maybe it will make some folks think about the over processed and un-natural foods we do eat...creating a conscious thought of what we eat...then leading to a deeper consideration of where it comes from.