Enjoy a Compassionate Thanksgiving!
As Thanksgiving approaches, here at In Defense of Animals, we would like to encourage kindness and appreciation for the existence of an amazing bird, the turkey. Unfortunately for them, and those who care about their lives, forty-five million “Broad Breasted Whites” as they are known in the industry will be eaten by people in the United States this coming holiday, but few of those people will ever know or care about 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 day in and day out have poor sanitation and can have an overwhelming stench of ammonia.
As society is becoming more aware of the plight of factory farmed turkeys, some people are naively buying “humane” or “organic” turkeys. While this is more of an honorable pursuit than not making any changes, most people don’t realize that these farms are not much better than a factory farm. The turkeys might have limited access to what could be called “outside,” but they are still intensely 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 slaughterhouses for bloody and brutal deaths as factory-farmed turkeys. 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 appreciation and thanks for our much more wonderful quality of life than most other animals, 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 excessive amounts of 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 we intend to have killed for us. Of course there are numerous faux meat options such as Tofurky and Field Roast. Also, any customary Thanksgiving dessert recipe can be easily veganized with a few substitutions. You can also check out Veg News’ new offering: Make a Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Spread With These 24 Vegan Recipes. You can’t go wrong!
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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