This is my second Thanksgiving without a turkey on my plate.

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The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals. ~Mahatma Gandhi.

Who’s Coming to Your Thanksgiving Dinner?


I love this holiday. I love being around family, resting, thinking about my Christmas decorations (yep, I start right after Thanksgiving) and eating lots of wholesome food. I also like taking a whole holiday to talk about all the many things we have to be grateful for. I love giving thanks—I try to do it every day as well.  Just the fact that we wake up each day with air to breath and food to eat is enough to be thankful for.

Since I gave up eating animals, my list has grown longer.  I have become more in tune with my life, and how I can affect others. This will be my second Thanksgiving without a turkey on my plate and I must say, it is so much more freeing without it.  Don’t get me wrong, I still eat…a lot…but now I fill up on dishes that are good for me and that keep animals alive.

Thanksgiving brings about a lot of suffering.  Billions of animals die every day for human consumption—but on this particular day, a day of giving thanks, it’s ironic that so many are killed for our celebrations.

Our society has numbed our minds to the fact that animals are living, breathing beings.  I ate turkeys and other animals for over 20 years before I made the connection.  We are so hidden from the facts and numbed to the suffering, that we can’t even see or imagine where the food actually comes from.  I mean, once that animal is cooked, spiced, dressed up; it looks like dinner. But if you knew what that animal did before it reached your dinner table, you probably wouldn’t eat it.

Here are ten facts about Turkeys:

1. Turkeys recognize each other by their unique voices.

2. Researchers have identified more than 20 distinct vocalizations in wild turkeys.

3. Turkeys have excellent geography skills and can learn the specific details of an area of more than  1,000 acres.

4. Like cats and dogs, turkeys are intelligent and sensitive animals who form strong social bonds and show great affection to others.

5. On factory farms, turkeys frequently have the ends of their beaks and toes cut off without anesthesia — practices know as debeaking and detoeing — to prevent them from injuring one another as they are crowded by the thousands into dark, filthy warehouses.
6. Between 1965 and 2000, the weight of the average turkey raised commercially in the U.S. increased by 57 percent, from an average of 18 pounds to an average of 28.2 pounds, causing commercially-bred turkeys to suffer from crippling foot and leg problems.
7. Completely unlike their wild ancestors not only in terms of physique but also in hue, most commercial turkeys are totally white—the natural bronze color selectively bred out of them to eliminate uneven pigment colorations—because of consumer preference for even flesh tones.
8. Also catering to consumer preferences for “white meat,” the industry has selectively bred turkeys to have abnormally large breasts. This anatomical manipulation makes it difficult for male turkeys to mount the females, eliminating these birds’ ability to reproduce naturally. As a result, artificial insemination is now the sole means of reproduction on factory farms, where breeder birds are confined for months on end.
9. Turkeys, along with other poultry, are not protected by the federal Humane Slaughter Act—god knows why—and are frequently killed without first being stunned.
10. Every year, more than 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving holiday dinners, but it doesn’t have to be this way

We have to wake up from this sleep of believing animals are here for our consumption.  These animals live, breath, love just like we do. Be truly thankful and leave the animals off of your Thanksgiving plate.

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About Mary Holland

Mary Holland is a Vegan, a yogi, lover of life and new found blogger. She discusses everything from freedom for all beings, vegan recipes and yoga. Check her blog out at Changing The World, One Veggie at a Time.


3 Responses to “This is my second Thanksgiving without a turkey on my plate.”

  1. ARCreated says:

    whoo hooo let the controversy begin 🙂 This will be my second completely animal free t-day…and like you I feel even more grateful everyday since I gave up animal products (it took me 40 years to make the connection, but thankful I did)

    I do have to say the first time I came face to face with a wild turkey saving it was not my first thought — as it scared the beejeesus out of me …however I do know that it didn't seem at all like a "dumb animal" rather a very proud and intelligent being. I am happy to let them live free!!!

    Viva La Vegan Lifestyle!!

  2. Mary Holland says:

    Good to hear you all say that! It is true..Thanksgiving has so much more meaning than just eating anyway. When you don't eat another being, the meaning becomes even more special!

  3. iloveginger says:

    this is such a difficult holiday for me..sigh:: i always hear people calling it turkey day! what! happy "turkey day" from the checkers at the market. also, does the president still send turkeys to disneyland? i am sad. i sponsor a turkey every year at Farm Sanctuary, this year my turkey is at the new york farm-her name is Daphne.

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