Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksliving Dinner: Turkeys in Our Hearts, Not on The Table

This Sunday, I gathered with about 40 others in sharing a humane pre-Thanksgiving dinner held by God's Creatures Ministry.

Each place setting included a key chain that said "Contentment" and on the back a quote:

"Lord, help me to be grateful for what I have, to remember that I don't need most of what I want, and that joy is found in simplicity and generosity" - Enough by Adam Hamilton.

Whether you invoke this as a prayer or just a philosophy, they are thoughtful words to remember as we enter the holiday season of dietary and materialistic excess.

Now, for the meal. Can't go wrong with grapes alongside hummus and French onion pita chips from veg-friendly Trader Joe's.

My beverage choice: sparkling cider. I was the designated driver for the evening.

Tofurkey and all the trimmings: stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, and rolls.

A sampling of desserts: rice pudding, chocolate cake, and my favorite of the evening, apple crisp.

I love tricky tray auctions! I was pining over this basket filled with Trader Joe's goodies. It went home with someone else.

I met so many caring activists, including representatives from the League of Humane Voters, Friends of Wayne Animals, all-creatures.org, and the Animal Protection League of New Jersey.

Every Thanksgiving, millions of Americans place a turkey in their cart, just as it was another item such as cranberry sauce or green beans. I would guess that most give little thought, as they do with most animal products, about the life of the turkey. Many with crippling foot and leg problems due to their genetically-manipulated weight; transported under horrid conditions (they can be legally transported for up to 28 hours without food, water or rest); and slaughtered in even worse conditions (turkeys and other poultry are excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act), all according to Farm Sanctuary. Learn more.

They eat it simply because they are trained to. Because this is part of a "tradition." Well this is one cruel tradition I've broken from for two decades, and am proud to do so again this year. I don't want to celebrate gratitude and life by causing death, simply because that's what the rest of society embraces.

Be proud to shun turkey this year if you are the lone vegetarian at your table. In the film Ratatouille, the once embittered food critic Anton Ego who has had a new awakening said, "The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends." People are afraid or mock veg diets because they are new - unknown, different. Stand tall, knowing that you are a pioneer and friend of the new.

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