While I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving and gets to spend time with their families (or chosen families), I also think it's important to consider the realities of this holiday. We go around laughing and saying, "gobble, gobble." We discuss cooking techniques to get the perfect texture. We take pictures of the finished "product" (not that I am above this). But, I think we forget about how the turkeys actually got to our plates. We don't see the suffering. Instead, we sit around, listing what we are thankful for, often forgetting that they lived a life of torture. They spent their entire lives suffering so our taste buds could feel good for five minutes.
I think we must remember them today. And we must remember that our choices have ramifications.
From COK.net: "The average American consumes 17 pounds of turkey meat per year, resulting in the annual slaughter of 252 million turkeys—more than 65 million of whom are killed during the winter holiday season alone.
Most farmed turkeys spend their entire lives inside overcrowded and poorly ventilated warehouses that typically house up to 25,000 birds in a single shed affording as little as one square foot of space per bird. Such stocking densities make it impossible for most birds to carry out normal behaviors and cause the turkeys to suffer from stress and disease.
After 14 to 20 weeks, turkeys are transported to slaughter without food, water, or protection from extreme temperatures. At the slaughter plant, the birds are dumped onto conveyors and hung upside down in shackles by their legs. In the United States, there is no legal requirement that poultry be rendered unconscious before they are slaughtered.
Profits have taken priority over animal welfare. Standard industry practices cause turkeys to experience both acute and chronic pain. The treatment of these animals would be illegal if anti-cruelty laws applied to farm animals. But in the United States, unlike many other countries, there is no federal legislation protecting turkeys (or other poultry) on the farm, in transit, or during slaughter; and most state anti-cruelty statutes do not apply to farm animals.
This sort of cruelty is entirely preventable. And it's so easy to have a vegan Thanksgiving. For a list of delicious, cruelty-free recipes, I urge you to visit the follow sites:
Mercy for Animals
I know it’s easy to forget about what really goes into the food on your plate, but I think it’s especially important to remember today. I hope we can all be thankful for compassion and practice it ourselves by having a cruelty-free holiday.