Monday, November 22, 2010

Rethinking that Thanksgiving Turkey or, Guess who's Not coming to dinner

Each year over 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving dinners.   I haven't eaten turkey since I was a kid and I promise I do not feel a void. I've enjoyed my Thanksgivings every bit as much, and really feel that the turkey is an irrelevant, cruel and outdated tradition.  Our festive organic vegan dinner will include some delicious whole grain stuffing and miso mushroom gravy, roasted root vegetables, steamed broccoli, a big organic salad, and pumpkin pie.  Sounds yummy, right?

Turkeys are not stupid as we have been told.  They're very social creatures enjoying the company of other turkeys and other species, including humans.  They have relationships and show affection just like our cats and dogs and enjoy having their feathers stroked.  They have good hearing and vision, see in color, and have great geographical and communication skills.   Wild turkeys can fly short distances at speeds up to 55 mph and they can run on the ground at 25 mph.

Domestic turkeys cannot fly because they weigh too much.   Factory farm turkeys suffer tremendously during their short painful lives.   They have their beaks and toes cut off, they suffer painful health effects from being bred to have abnormally large breasts for white meat, they can no longer breed naturally because of this physical issue so breeder turkeys are kept locked up in a confined space, and they are killed violently and inhumanely.  The whole thing is so flagrantly disrespectful and barbaric, I believe if more people realized the backstory of their Thanksgiving turkey (and also the amount of pharmaceuticals and pesticides they contain), they would make the effort to find a truly free range local organic turkey or forgo it altogether.

It just seems to me that Compassion would go hand in hand with Gratitude, right?  Maybe a compassionate meal would make that point a little better.  Gratitude for our limited resources, gratitude for life and other living creatures.  And gratitude for our loved ones and being able to share this moment in time together, gratitude for the love in our really has nothing to do with the turkey.  For more on this topic, check out GENTLE THANKSGIVING or watch this horrifying video of turkeys in a factory farm.

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