Thanksgiving is already a holiday that's wrong on so many levels. I don't need to go into the details of the nature of our ancestors interactions with the Native North Americas - or the clinging to the fantastically ridiculous and false fairy tale of our chummy dinner together one night a few hundred years ago. But the last thing we should allow Thanksgiving to continue being is yet another massacre concealed under the guise of tradition, goodwill, and entitlement. This holiday season, I am refusing to sit at any table with a big, dead, tortured, cooked bird on it!
Why? For one, I had no idea how similar turkey's are to cats until I met one. Like most people, I subscribed to the convenient belief that they were dumb and void of personality. This is such a pervasive stereotype because A) Most of us do not get to actually meet a turkey who is not dead, frozen, sliced, de-footed and beheaded. B) The turkeys can't speak in any language that we validate; their clucks and gobbles are written off as nonsense in that same fashion that racist and xenophobic Americans make fun of any language they don't understand, and C) It's the only way to rationalize what we do to Turkeys - because if they're dumb, they must have a dull ability to feel pain and fear, right?
When I finally met a turkey who approached me and rubbed his head against my leg like a cat and purred as I scratched his warm belly, I realized just how silly our rationalizations are for calling some animals 'pets' and others 'Thanksgiving dinner'. Just because something is popularly participated in, and offered up on a platter doesn't make it right. Our third-grade history books could tell us that much.
This thanksgiving, I am telling my friends and family, "It's me or the Turkey!". I will not sit at the table if there is a Turkey's body on it. I never thought I'd say this, but I have friends that are turkeys! It doesn't sound silly to say we have friends that are dogs and cats, but when we take an animal that is typically stripped of individuality, and whose sole purpose is supposed to be getting it's throat slit, cooked, and eaten - it comes out sounding strange. Thankfully we don't need to have dead turkeys at our tables, and we can certainly insist that our families and friends give the turkeys something to be thankful for this year.
At Farm Sanctuary, Animal Acres, The Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, and other sanctuaries, Thanksgiving is for the birds. Literally. If you have no plans, or don't know what to cook, check out the THANKSGIVING SURVIVAL GUIDE:
DELICIOUS TURKEY ALTERNATIVES:
OTHER THANKSGIVING RECIPES: