It’s easy to say, “I don’t want to see or know what happens” when something is uncomfortable, but what is easy often is not what is right… Please have an open mind, and absorb this piece before you make your final decision on what to prepare this Thanksgiving.
Animals, including turkeys, are sentient, have individual lives and feel pain. Many people just pick up a turkey from the store without really thinking about what they’re doing. Is there a need to do this? Does “tradition” rationalize the slaughter of a fellow being? I want to encourage people to be more mindful of what they’re doing, and then make the choice from there.
If you’ve ever looked into an animal’s eyes, you can sense there is a lot going on there. Start at the beginning and think of the turkey alive, just living its life (although most likely under terrible conditions), then the terror it must feel just before it is murdered. Next it gets packaged up and sent out to stores, as if its existence meant nothing. And here’s where you come in, going to look at a bunch of carcasses and deciding which one looks “best” to eat. Then, of course, there’s also the strange and unsavory tale of the inception of Thanksgiving dinner.
It all reeks of entitlement. Just because we CAN systematically birth, create miserable lives, then slaughter animals doesn’t mean we should. Humans also do this with other humans with slaves and sex trafficking. What right does one being have over another? If you think racism and sexism are wrong (and I hope you do), to me it’s not much of a leap to thinking that speciesism is also wrong. Basically human beings are bullies, taking everything as if it’s supposed to be ours, and in the process wreaking havoc on the planet. “Humans,” Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has written, “seem to take a perverse pleasure in attributing stupidity to animals when it is almost entirely a question of human ignorance.”
BUT BACK TO THE TURKEYS
“Very few animals go through the stresses of poults [baby turkeys] in their first three hours of life. They are squeezed for sexing, thrown down a slide onto a treadmill, someone picks them up and pulls the snood off their heads, clips three toes off each foot, debeaks them, puts them on another conveyer belt that delivers them to another carousel where they get a power injection, usually of an antibiotic, that whacks them in the back of their necks. Essentially, they have been through major surgery. They have been traumatized. . . .” Dr. William E. Donaldson, North Carolina State University.
Like chickens, turkeys are bred to grow faster and bigger than they would naturally. Through genetic manipulation and antibiotics, a 35 pound bird can be produced in a few months. Due to this, many turkeys suffer leg deformations under all that weight. Additionally, sometimes their hearts and lungs are unable to cope with the strain, resulting in heart and lung collapse, and chronic pain. This is cruel and unusual punishment.
As is the case with other factory farms, when mothers give birth, their babies are immediately taken away. The mothers don’t get to snuggle and nurture their babies, and the babies, terrified, have just begun their next rung of horror.
Think of your dog or cat tonight in any of these conditions…breaks your heart right?
The total number of turkeys raised for food in 2016 was 244 million. 244 MILLION! At least 68 million turkeys are consumed during the holidays. That doesn’t include the estimated 988,000–nearly 1 million birds that die during crating and transport to slaughter.
FELLOW SENTIENT BEINGS
All poultry species are sentient vertebrates. Available evidence shows they possess a similar range of feelings as mammalian species. Poultry can suffer from feeling pain, fear and stress. They also experience positive emotions, and enjoy being pet.
People often argue with me that we have canine teeth, therefore that means we should be eating meat. There are lots of things we still have even though we’ve evolved past them. Now that meat isn’t necessary for survival due to all the advancements we’ve made (with the exception of some 3rd world countries), we can choose to eat cruelty-free.
I love the idea of Thanksgiving – to be grateful and give thanks for what we have. Part of what we have is a choice. It’s always a choice.
If you consider yourself empathetic, I hope you’ll take a second look at your thoughts on animals, and eating them. And maybe prepare something sans cruelty this holiday season.
For some cruelty-free Thanksgiving recipes, click HERE!