Letter: Choose compassionate turkey-free holiday
To the editor:
Behind most traditional Thanksgiving dinners lies a world of suffering and abuse. Turkeys bred for meat live a miserable life and they die a painful death. Like all animal farming, turkey farming is an efficient system aimed at producing the largest number of birds in the shortest time for the least cost. A single farm worker may be responsible for the care of tens of thousands of turkeys, making it impossible to notice when a bird is sick or injured. The industry admits that the trade-off to savings on housing and feed is the welfare of the birds.
Because they are bred to grow as quickly as possible, turkeys may already have painful broken bones when they are crammed into crates and loaded onto trucks for transport to the slaughterhouse. They are driven long distances with no food or water and no protection from the elements. At the slaughterhouse, they are not protected by any federal law mandating humane slaughter.
In short, production of turkeys involves some of the worst animal cruelty in the world. And the hard truth is that eating turkey meat on Thanksgiving contributes directly to this cruelty.
Given the availability of outstanding plant-based products in stores and the wealth of festive vegetarian recipes on the internet, there is no longer any excuse for participating in this cruelty. Likewise, those who wish to support programs that provide Thanksgiving meals for people who live with poverty or homelessness can support organizations that honor compassion for both people and animals. Chilis on Wheels (www.chilisonwheels.org/thanksgiving-community-feast/) and Community Solidarity (www.communitysolidarity.org/veganthanksgiving) are among those that bring turkey-free Thanksgiving meals to people in need. Consider a donation to these grassroots organizations rather than to one that purchases turkeys.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude and abundance. Choosing to make it a turkey-free holiday is a way to celebrate with an abundance of compassion, an abundance of good food, and a commitment to kindness toward all.
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