I am sure you were thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving. Perhaps you were grateful for no school, your brother’s decision to prematurely part with his movember stache, and the fact that your creepy neighbor Tom decided to spend the holidays in Florida with grandma. Good riddance. I am also sure, though, that the one thing you should have been most thankful for this Thanksgiving failed to even cross your hungry little mind: the fact that you, and presumably most of your loved ones, are not turkeys.
Did you know that according to the National Turkey Federation, and yes there is a National Turkey Federation, an estimated 46 million turkeys were served this Thanksgiving?
Did you know that according to the United States Census Bureau, and yes turkeys are counted by the United States Census Bureau, a whopping 31 percent of turkey consumption takes place on Thanksgiving and Christmas?
And the average size of these turkeys, according to the National Turkey Federation, is 16 pounds.
If I were a turkey, I rather endure death by raindrop than be a martyr for a holiday during which people ironically celebrate life. Think about it: you feel something awesome tapping on your head, you look up in awe with your mouth agape, and a few chokes later your feathered back is on the grass. Painless.
Instead, many turkeys are cruelly treated until their severed parts are served next to your Aunt Bernice’s yam patties. They are subjected to hormones that promote growth, confined to cages, stomped on, and drowned. At least this is what PETA learned in 2008 after an undercover investigation of Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., a leading poultry breeding company.
However, even if you are not going to become a vegetarian, or make a “Leave the Turkeys Alone” video wearing a feathered bodysuit like I am, there are still some things you can do to make sure that the turkeys murdered for your enjoyment had good lives.
Only purchase turkeys with “Certified Humane Raised and Handled” labels. This means that their treatment met the standards for kindness established by the Humane Farm Animal Care organization. You can even donate to it here.
Like Paul McCartney, you can wear a “Say No, Thanks to Turkey” t-shirt, so even if you plan on devouring as many turkeys as you can next Thanksgiving you can encourage others not to.
Or, like President Barack Obama, you can get a live turkey with a cute name like Courage to come to your house before you are supposed to eat him. Then, like him, you will probably spare this turkey’s life:
Then again, aren’t all turkeys named Courage?