Boy, do I love special occasions and holidays because my family will usually get together to be together and to celebrate. Thanksgiving is no exception and this year we will all gather at my daughter’s home. My daughter has recently moved closer to home and I revel in the opportunity to get together more often. Time, space and circumstance have often dictated that family events take place at the old family homestead, but that is changing now. I often find myself celebrating at the homes of my son and daughter. And, I love it!!!!
Not a day goes by that I do not think about the non humans out there suffering unimaginably at the whim of agri-business, the almighty dollar and our conditioned from birth palates. This knowledge is particularly difficult for me when holidays approach. I know that long held family traditions dictate that the lion’s share of the celebratory food will be prepared using the flesh and secretions of non human animals.
We all know who will be sacrificed in astonishing numbers this Thanksgiving -that is right, the turkey.
Allow me to share with you some facts about the turkey industry here in Canada and the United States:
Sad, sad fact: If domesticated turkeys were allowed to live out their natural lives in peace, they would live to an average age of ten years, not three to five months.
Canada (2008) Turkey Farmers of Canada
Whole bird sales are seasonal:
At Thanksgiving 2008, 2.7 million whole turkeys were purchased by Canadians, equal to 28% of all whole turkeys that were sold over the year.
Thanksgiving and Christmas account for 71% of annual whole turkey sales.
At Thanksgiving 2008, 5 million or 39% of all Canadian households purchased turkey and turkey products.
United States (2012) National Turkey Federation
In 2012, more than 253.5 million turkeys were raised. More than 210 million were consumed in the United States. We estimate that 46 million of those turkeys were eaten at Thanksgiving, 22 million at Christmas and 19 million at Easter.
North American Turkey Industry: (Farm Sanctuary Fact Sheet) (paraphrased)
Up to 10,000 birds packed into a single factory building.
2.5 to 4 square feet of floor space per bird.
Birds have trouble breathing and suffer from irritated, swollen eyes in dusty and ammonia-filled building.
Selectively bred to grow rapidly and excessively.
Prone to lameness, deformities, and crippling leg pain.
De-beaking and De-toeing:
Overcrowding and resulting stress can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes.
Solution involves cutting off portions of newly hatched baby turkeys beaks and toes with shears, a hot blade, or a high-voltage electrical current all without any pain relief or anesthetic.
Males bred to develop such large breasts that they cannot breed naturally.
Artificial insemination managed by humans is the only way breeding is possible in the turkey industry.
Packed into crates and sent to slaughter at three to five months old.
Rough handling results in dislocated hips and wing fractures.
Each year hundreds of thousands (American stat) die in transit to slaughterhouse.
Shackled upside down by their feet while they are still alive and fully conscious.
I get it. Like so many of us, I did not know of the cruelty to which I was contributing when I was happily replicating everything I learned from my mom ( who learned it from her mom) about eating and celebrations. But, I know better now. I know of the suffering, I know that all species form families with whom they share love and I know that we have no nutritional need for their flesh and secretions. Now that I know better, I do things differently, compassionately, with full knowledge that no one is being intentionally harmed for the sake of my taste buds.
So this Thanksgiving my daughter will be preparing a 100% plant based Mexican Fiesta. I encourage you to join us is choosing a plant based, cruelty free celebration. If you prefer the tradition of a harvest meal, please check out this video of recipes for a Vegan Thanksgiving.
Annie’s Vegan View
Let us all live ethically as we celebrate with our loved ones.
Please choose plant based and save a life.
Therein lies our own salvation
May all beings be happy and free.