As Thanksgiving approaches, here at IDA, we like to give thanks for the amazing bird, the turkey. Forty-five million “Broad Breasted Whites” as they are known will be eaten by U.S. citizens this coming holiday, but few of those people will ever know the suffering these birds endured to reach their tables.
These beautiful birds have been genetically manipulated over the years to grow rapidly and have enlarged and unnaturally exaggerated breasts. The result is a multitude of health and mobility issues including inability to fly or to breed (they must be artificially inseminated, or the males would crush the females) and, in some cases, to even walk. Turkeys are raised in high-density, indoor confinement containing thousands of birds to a building and often have their toes cut off to prevent injury if there is fighting in the tight overcrowding. These windowless warehouses where the birds must live in day in and day out have poor sanitation and can have an overwhelming stench of ammonia. [singlepic id=163 w=320 h=240 float=right]
As society is becoming more aware of the plight of factory farmed turkeys, some people are buying “humane” or “organic” turkeys. While this is an honorable pursuit, most people don’t realize that these farms are not much better than a factory farm. The turkeys might have access to the outside, but they are still overcrowded and may also be left outside in extremes of weather with no shelter. They still come from the same inhumane industrial hatchery where they never knew their mothers, and go to the same frightening slaughterhouse for a bloody and brutal death as a factory-farmed turkey. Birds are exempt from the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act so there are no regulations to ease their suffering.
If we want to truly give thanks, we should thank the earth for the life, resources, and delicious plant food it provides. It takes approximately 10 pounds of vegetables to make 1 pound of turkey, so we are wasting precious water, land, and fossil fuels and creating greenhouse gasses by eating meat. If we are sincerely grateful for the abundant and excessive amount of food available to us, we should eat a plant-based Thanksgiving meal, as a greater number of people could be fed with the grain that we feed the animals. Of course there are numerous faux meat options such as Tofurky and Field Roast. And any customary Thanksgiving dessert recipe can be easily veganized with a few substitutions.
Please show your gratitude to the earth, your health, and the turkeys this year and start a new tradition of compassion with a vegan Thanksgiving
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