Jan 18, 2020

A meat-free Thanksgiving, but why?

Mashed potatoes and gravy, a warm dinner roll, stuffing, pumpkin pie, yams, green beans and Tofurky. Wait, Tofurky? Let’s take a step back.

Let’s start off with honesty and allow me to admit that I’m biased. My argument will get us nowhere if I try to convince you I’m not coming from a standpoint of someone wanting to save animals. This isn’t about the potential health issues that not eating meat may prevent.

This is also not about about a recent trend of “going-green” or about saving the planet from further pollution caused by factory farming.

Rather, this is solely about a holiday meant to give thanks and gather with loved ones– which traditionally entails or evokes a notion of consuming once-living animals.

Let’s call it what it is. The conscientious raising of living, sentient beings for personal consumption. And in days following Thanksgiving, consuming a few more leftover meals.

We’ll differentiate between the vegans and carnivores for clarification purposes. When  I, a vegan, ask my counterparts, carnivores, why they eat meat, I get responses such as “God put animals on Earth to be eaten,” “I could never give up meat,” “I never really considered not eating meat” or “I don’t really care.”

Along with such responses, I also hear something to the extent of animals and humans are not equal, physically or mentally, and for that reason, animals do not necessarily deserve to live out a natural life.

However, this isn’t a plea to make you go vegan or even become vegetarian. This is meant to evoke critical thought – through a tinge of humorous humanity – about why during the aforementioned holiday, we feel it is ok to take away the life of another living being.

Therefore, for one holiday, I am challenging you to go meat-free. But why?

I’m about to reference PETA, so go ahead shoot me. According to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 45 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving.

Have you seen PETA’s ad, “Grace?” If your answer is no, I’m not surprised. Not many have. It’s because NBC rejected running the ad during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In my opinion, it’s because they don’t want to air something that could interfere with America’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

As a Millennial, I constantly hear two things. The first is that we are just told what they want us to hear.

Why do you think Sen. Bernie Sanders is so popular among young voters? Because he broke the mold and told us unpleasant truths about our country.

The second is that we need to wake up and stop being sheeple, sheeple being the combination of the words sheep and people. Sheep are easily herded. In other words, we are people who are easily herded by groupthink. If the youth are constantly questioning what they’re told, why not question what we are consuming?

Did you know that turkeys and domestic pets like cats and dogs are alike? They enjoy bathing themselves, creating shelter, caring for their young, having their feathers stroked and will even gobble or chirp to their favorite tunes. For all intents and purposes, they’d make great pets.  Thanks for hitting me in the feels with those facts, PETA.

These days, it’s considered cool to go against the norm and not conform to stereotypical ideals about your race, gender, age and sexuality. It’s the 1960s’ counterculture revolution all over again.

For as many celebrities you are following on social media, you can’t say their opinions don’t have at least a little sway on you. I’m not asking you to commit to a lifetime of being meat-free – I’m just asking to live like famous vegans Miley Cyrus or Paul McCartney for the day.

Questioning what we’re told, not being sheeple and living like a celebrity for the day is my lighthearted way to encourage you to think twice about having either a cruelty-free Thanksgiving meal or one that involved killing a turkey that would have liked to live out its natural life.

Let us give thanks, but also consciously spare the life of another being that would have liked to spend time with its loved ones as well.

Cesar Chavez once said, “I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”

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