Don’t gobble the gobblers
Give turkeys something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: Go vegan
Iam going to challenge you with a dare, but beware, it may be difficult. It’s so crazy in fact, that I am hesitant to even suggest it — were it not for the millions of lives at stake.
For this Thanksgiving and beyond, I dare you to ditch the turkey from your dinner table. Even if you’ve already purchased your turkey and made plans on how best to cook it, you can at least start the conversation with family and friends. I know this sounds ridiculous but you’ll be an absolute hero if you do.
By opting for a non-animal alternative to this tradition, you will reduce demand for these birds and save a turkey from a terrible fate. Raised and “harvested” solely for this special day, more than 46 million turkeys in the U.S. are subject to extreme pain and misery. According to the Humane Society of the United States, baby turkeys have part of their beaks and toes hastily and painfully removed to protect workers and prevent losses from fights, because the turkeys go mental in such crowded spaces. I won’t utter what else goes on here, but let’s just say that language belongs in a place like Tolkien’s Mordor. If you’d like to be in the loop and don’t mind reading gruesome true stories, I believe a simple Google search will fill you in quickly.
I can understand why the majority of Americans feel the need to cook a turkey in order to make Thanksgiving complete, as it wasn’t too long ago that I shared nostalgia for the turkey-serving tradition.
Excitement would brew when the plastic-wrapped turkey was brought home from the grocery store, with my siblings and I gathering quickly to judge the size of the cold and heavy purchase. While the turkey sat in the oven, the rest of the dinner guests would wait impatiently until it was done and my mother carried the main dish over to the center of the table, ready to be carved. My father took his sweet time delicately cutting each serving of turkey, amid the “oohs and ahhs” spewing from around the table.
Ironically it was the side dishes, the hidden-heroes of Thanksgiving, that we seemed to enjoy and take more helpings of than the main turkey dish. If it’s the process of shopping for the main dish, preparing it and serving it at the dinner table that embodies the tradition of this holiday, then it is highly possible to switch the bird dish for a non-animal dish and be just as successful, if not more so.
One example of an alternative entree is a breaded and baked (or deep fried) wholehead of cauliflower, spiced to perfection. Once set at the table and carved, the steamy aroma will reach every dinner guest and leave them wanting more.
Though if you feel you have to have your turkey, I hope you chose a turkey from a local farm you can visit, to see firsthand how the birds are treated. Even though grocery stores sell plenty of turkeys labeled with promises of humane treatment, chances are their upbringing is not what you or I would truly consider “humane.” For instance Butterball, one of the largest turkey producers in the U.S., is American Humane Certified, yet undercover videos of blatant abuse against the turkeys have been released by multiple nonprofits.
Even foregoing the turkey dish, you can still call it turkey day. Farm Sanctuary has a program where you can adopt and sponsor one of the rescued turkeys, like Ruthie, at their sanctuary. As a spokesman for this project, actor Alec Baldwin says “turkeys are just as friendly, smart, and full of feeling as my dogs, and they deserve to be treated better.”
If you absolutely must serve turkey this year, then at least start talking about making changes to future Thanksgiving plans. This is how change happens, by talking about an issue and thinking of alternatives to make the world a better place. Whenenough of us are willing and able to leave out the turkey, we’ll be able to start a new Thanksgiving tradition that will find its way through generations to come. This time around, let’s give turkeys something to be thankful for.
Would a vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving meal be just as good? These two would probably say “yes.”