We all hear so much at this time of year about the plentiful resources we are blessed with. And I certainly am grateful too... The bounty we have is immeasurable. But in all those "things" to want and have... The details in acquiring those "things" is often shielded from our view. How eggs, milk and meat come to be is not without extreme cost to innocent life.
Over 9 billion birds are slaughtered in the US every year... None are considered "animals" even under the ridiculous pretense of the "humane" slaughter act. Birds... "poultry"... turkeys endure a horrific short life and the most brutal treatment at their death. I wished I would have known that when I was younger. I would have spared many lives with better choices... I would have been healthier - And emotionally happier with decisions that reflected my values. That is the bounty of a good life that was denied to me before.
My experience and teachings centered around "tradition"... Tradition dictates that it is "normal" on this 4th Thursday in November to place a beheaded corpse of what once was a living, sentient being on a festive table. A "plump" one... With any other "plump" one's gizzards, hearts and necks stuck in their cavity... The void is then filled with another substance that surely contains another animal ingredient.
Yes, I did once stuff and "lace" birds... I did cook, carve and consume their flesh. But I did so without the thought or care to the life I was taking. I did not adequately question the life that was taken by force, might, greed and for the sake of the sacrificial "ritual".
But I am grateful for the knowledge that I have now. No animal wishes to die. And the truth is - We don't "need" to eat them to be healthy and to thrive. A plant based diet can provide all that is necessary and satisfying. Seems that at some point we should be returning the gifts to the innocent that have "provided" so much in the past... Isn't it about time that they have something to be "thankful" for? Perhaps thankful for man's compassion?
Not all traditions are worthy of admiration and respect. Tradition should never be an excuse for cruelty, and surely harmful practices should not be condoned just because they are cultural practices.
Michele Pickover, a spokeswoman for Animal Rights Africa