You don't have to be a president to pardon a turkey. I, and people like me who are either vegetarian or vegan have been pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys for years. It is really quite simple - just DON'T EAT TURKEY on Thanksgiving.
Of course- if you do it enough times, you too may find out how easy it is to forgo animal flesh altogether and decide to join our compassionate ranks.
I wonder if Ben Franklin ate turkey on Thanksgiving or ever for that matter. Since he felt the turkey had many noble qualities, it was his wish that the turkey be designated as the symbol of America in preference to the bald eagle. A very talented man I think we all agree, but in this instance his advice and wishes were not respected.
Sadly, in my opinion the presidential pardonings are hypocritical because the first families probably always have turkey at their Thanksgiving dinners.
However, if the pardoned turkeys go on to live a happy pain-free life and die natural deaths, then I am certainly glad for that and hope the tradition never dies. There are sanctuaries like Animal Place in California, Farm Sanctuary
in New York, and Happy Trails in Ohio to mention just three where rescued farm animals will never ever worry about their throats being cut and their insides gutted.
Sounds gruesome - well it is. Death in this way has to be traumatic for the birds. I believe that Paul McCartney once said that if slaughter houses had glass walls, those who would look in would become vegeterarian. While I never killed a chicken, (some of the early immigrants did), I gutted quite a few of them - not by choice and I am glad that I will never ever have to do this again. I do feel sorry for the people who have to slaughter and gut both chickens and turkeys for a living. Sadly though - some of these workers have been exposed as beingcruel to them before slaughtering - twirling them around by a leg or bashing them against a hard surface. I always wonder why they should take out their hostilities on these poor innocent birds. One reason may well be that churches and schools as well as parents fail to teach compassion to animals.
I still remember a picture from last year of Sarah Palin visiting a turkey slaughterhouse in Alaska. It didn't even seem to phase her that the heads of these live birds were being plunged into a cutting machine. (I'm already
forgetting my resolve to stop judging people.)
She did say something recently on TV re I suppose an answer to someone's query about vegeterianism. Her response was something like - then why did God make animals for meat? Though to me it was a simplistic thought, I
realized then that she was probably raised with this notion that God made animals strictly for people to use. Though a common notion taught in many Christian circles and probably other religions, a kinder belief would be that
God made all things for Himself first, and if we don't have to kill animals for sustenance, then we shouldn't. But above all, we should be concerned as to how they are raised and slaughtered. Sadly, the raising in CAFOs (confined
animal farm operations) can never be construed as being humane and our poor animals suffer as a result. And even the slaughtering practices can be terribly cruel when some poor animals are improperly stunned and go
through the line alive - skinned and appendages cut off. As often as I have written this - I wonder how anyone could read it and not be horrified.
Today we are blessed with so many non-animal choices, why not eat the grains, fruits, and vegetables which are found so abundantly in our grocery stores?
And health-wise, I keep on seeing TV presentations which remind us that too many Big Macs and French Fries and meat in general is not at all healthy and often leads to obesity, diabetes, and heart problems. Even our environment-
our once pure waterways and fresh air now groans under the excessive raising of animals for food.
I was also quite surprised at something in this regard when watching a documentary on Jack Johnson, the controversial black heavyweight champion of the early twentieth century who dared marry a white woman. His bio is
interesting and fascinating and sad at times. There was one thing though which I admired him for saying and that was that he was urging people to eat more fruits and vegetables. I imagine that the people might have thought that
if the great heavyweight champion said to eat more fruits and vegetables - then let's do it. At least I hope so.
Hopefully, each Thanksgiving will find more and more people who are having a "green" Thanksgiving instead of a "red" one.