Don’t get your kids out of the room. We’ve got a message to tune in ahead of your holiday meal.
At least 40 million turkeys will be sold this Thanksgiving – turkeys whose lives ended in 12- 14 weeks. Before that indignity, their lives took a dive after being hatched in an incubator on a huge factory farm. Days later, they had their upper beaks and toenails snipped off. With altered beaks, they were left to gorge on an antibiotic infused corn-based mash – an unnatural diet designed to make them overweight as quickly as possible. They lived unable to move around in a windowless barn to produce lots of white breast meat for consumer demand.
Because of their monotonous diet, a turkey’s coveted flesh is so bland processors inject them with a saline solution and vegetable oil, to add more weight, increase their shelf life and improve flavor.
In nature, native turkeys typically spend their lives outdoors, exploring, climbing, socializing and breeding. In contrast, domesticated turkeys live among ammonia fumes so intense; they’d burn your eyes.
Even organic turkeys are not killed humanely. As we saw in an infamous 2008 video at a turkey farm in which Alaska’s Sarah Palin held an interview before Thanksgiving to “pardon” a turkey, behind her, the bird was put in a cone upside down. With a sharp instrument its jugular was severed-but not the esophagus, so it continued to breathe before it died. You’d think that would take Palin’s breath away.
Everyone considering a turkey meal should see Sarah Palin’s interview. I’ve posted it on my Facebook page.
The truth is, one in 10 Americans say they don’t eat meat. If everyone had what I’m making as a main dish — Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellington — or some other such vegan main course this Thanksgiving, 40 million birds would be spared. We’d also keep nearly 2 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Environmental columnist and author George Monbiot warns us, “There are just two actions needed to prevent catastrophic climate breakdown: leave fossil fuels in the ground and stop farming animals.”
Turkey and other livestock farming accounts for between 16.5% and 28% of all greenhouse gas pollution. Animal farming is also the greatest source of methane released by human activities, Monbiot says. And organic farmers can’t argue that their animals are better for the environment because, aside from pollution, deforested grasslands used to raise animals should be returned to forestland to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
If government leaders around the world won’t address animal farming, it’s up to us. Please consider plant based, vegan meals for children and adults that are healthful, delicious and respectful of animals and the lives we cherish. I’ve authored two vegan cookbooks and am able to help anyone transition their meal for you and the turkeys.
President, Friends of Animals