In the beginning, God created turkeys--well, that's not exactly
true--turkeys evolved in North and Central America somewhere in the
neighborhood of twelve million years ago, during the Miocene/early Pliocene
epoch--but it makes for a good story.
Turkeys are intelligent,
highly social and easily distressed when isolated or kept from their
familiar surroundings. Adults can differentiate between friends and possible
foe, and have been known to go into attack mode to drive off outsiders.
Benjamin Franklin described the turkey as "a Bird of Courage, and would not
hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to
invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."
Their size, showy feathers
and territorial disposition make turkeys an easy target for anyone with a
weapon and an unwholesome urge to kill. Native Americans have a long history
of feasting on turkeys that began well before the first Thanksgiving--the
California turkey was hunted to extinction over 10,000 years ago. Meanwhile,
modern human's industrialized abuse of turkeys is nothing short of barbaric.
Man has become so proficient at playing God with the turkey that nowadays
the once proudly feathered bird is hardly recognizable. The vast majority of
domesticated turkeys are bred to have white feathers because their pin
feathers are less visible to the feaster when the carcass is "dressed" (glib
jargon meaning butchered and mechanically plucked).
creator would be appalled by the unimaginable scale of institutionalized
abuse of turkeys on factory farms or even on pseudo "free
range" feel-good farms. Yet, each year turkeys are depicted--appearing at
ease or even pleased with their plight--in inane commercials meant to soothe
any holiday shopper who may have inadvertently stumbled onto the ugly truth
about the suffering and cruelty inherent in the meat industry.
you're feasting on the flesh of one of the 45 million turkeys slaughtered
this Thanksgiving season, please take a minute to consider the unnecessary
suffering your meal caused and make this your last "traditional" Turkey-kill
Day. Next year, try celebrating the life of the turkey while you feast on
Field Roast, cranberries, candied yams, mashed potatoes, dressing,
pumpkin pie and all the
tasty non-animal fixin's. You may end up stuffed, but at least a bird
won't have to be.