If you’re having turkey as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal, I assume you’ve already purchased one. I say assume because as a former turkey purchaser and roaster I know that it takes a couple of days in the fridge to thaw. Perhaps though, you’ve taken advantage of a grocery store special that offers a FREE turkey with a minimum dollar amount spent. Still…time to thaw. I suppose there are some of you that live in a wild turkey inhabited area and you’re going to spend time turkey hunting and cleaning a fresh turkey. No thawing necessary but the mere process alone makes me cringe. Then there’s the turkey “breast” folks who are probably serving just a few folks or don’t want to invest the time or effort into roasting, frying, whatever…a whole turkey. I’ve been there. Last but not least, there’s the “order it” group. This was me right before I went vegan because cooking a whole turkey, that still looked like a turkey, with it’s legs still intact, and a missing head, was well…just plain gross and weird to me.
If truth be told, I’ve never liked turkey. Outside of holiday dinners, I would never even considered it on my plate. Which makes me wonder how many people really even like it and only have it at the holidays because it’s “tradition”. I mean isn’t it all about the sides anyways? Do you think removing the turkey from the holiday table is going to cause a family break up? Ha, there is some sarcasm here because indeed it has done that in my own family. Not because I can’t “handle”the turkey but because my PLANT plate makes everyone else feel uncomfortable. So be it, families are complicated and mine is right up there at the top. I struggle with the same issues a lot of vegans do when it comes to family and friends but what’s wrong with starting a NEW tradition?
That’s exactly what this former family hugging, turkey eating, holiday gatherer has done. This year, despite not eating turkey for five years, I opted to adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary. Their website state, “Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey Project has encouraged people to save a turkey at Thanksgiving through sponsorships that help us rescue animals and provide care for them at our sanctuaries, as well as educate and advocate for turkeys and other farm animals everywhere.” I encourage you to check it out at http://www.farmsanctuary.org/giving/adopt-a-turkey/. You can also learn about the harsh reality of the turkey industry on this site along with discovering how turkeys have individual personalities just like your cat and dog. They are very smart, loving and full of feelings. Who knew?
Now assuming you know I’m a vegan activist, you’ll understand I’m part of a large community that shares a lot of “awareness” on social media. The last week in particular I’ve read my share of repeated post on Facebook regarding the cruel and unnecessary evils of turkey factory farming. I don’t stop there because even farm raised turkeys ultimately suffer on our behalf.
One story that really bothered me I saw on TV. A company in Northwest Arkansas (sigh), that stores the majority of frozen turkeys during the holiday season. Let me recreate the visual. A large climate controlled warehouse, with metal shelves from floor to ceiling, filled with boxes upon boxes of frozen turkeys. They use a forklift to remove the boxes from the shelves and then load them into semi trailers to ship out across the country. Being disturbed by seeing a facility filled with dead birds, I had to ask myself a few questions. Like how long does it take for the turkey to get to the factory to the warehouse. Was it fresh when it came in or frozen? How long does the turkey sit on a shelf before it is removed, how far does it have to travel to reach it’s destination, and how long before laying at the store before it’s purchased? I’ve yet to see a store cooler run out of turkeys so, what happens to all those leftover turkeys? I’m not sure I want to know the answer but I wonder why others don’t see the problem here.
Consuming a smart, loving, and kind animal who has endured a horrific death only to be frozen, stuck on a shelf, and consumed months later after traveling half way across the country just doesn’t seem right to me. Especially when that bird once thawed, is roasted, fried, whatever…and so proudly placed in the middle of a table. A table where our families and friends are gathered to give thanks for life, for peace, for kindness, and for love.
Love to all beings.
Happy Thanksgiving, and may your day be filled with all the “sides”.