A Greener and More Humane Thanksgiving
I visited my massage therapist yesterday and I always enjoy our conversation almost as much as I do the massage. We’re generally like-minded on most issues – she is the one who founded our local sustainable page that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.
I was surprised to learn, though, that we didn’t agree on the uproar PETA made this year over the Turkey Trot Festival, in which live turkeys are thrown from an airplane. The wild turkeys, which can only generally fly at low altitudes and slow speeds, sometimes plummet into the ground, cars or buildings with a sickening splat.
She generally agreed with most of the townsfolk that it is a long standing, 60-year tradition and the kids were the ones who really missed out on getting to chase the birds – if they survived the drop – which is the whole point, she said (I’m glad she said this is the point because up until now I did not get it).
“There are turkeys dying everyday in the factory farms and far less of them die in one day at the festival than in a factory farm,” she argued. “I choose to pick my battles over other animal rights issues.”
I don’t agree with her on the tradition point; just because it’s tradition doesn’t make it right, that’s what they call progression of a society.
I certainly don’t agree with her on taking children to chase birds that have just survived being dropped from a plane. I think this teaches children that animals are there for our amusement and if a few of them suffer and splat on the ground in pursuit of that amusement, it’s ok, as long as everyone has fun.
I do see her point on the factory farming though. Factory farms, particularly the factory turkey farms here are nauseating, so much so, that Dale and I cannot eat it without thinking of the pungent smell that fills our car each time we pass one and so, we generally just don’t eat turkey.
We would, however, if we wanted turkey, choose to go to a local free-range farmer who raises their organic heirloom turkeys (not the huge breasted Franken-turkeys factory farms produce) in sunlight and without all of the added chemicals.
We can say no to factory farming, I believe, and still support efforts to limit the amount of cruelty for amusement; they’re not mutually exclusive.
Will you be celebrating a more sustainable Thanksgiving this year? Did you raise or order your turkey from an organic, humane farm?