This is my first vegan Thanksgiving, and I could not be happier. A Thanksgiving without a dead bird on the table may seem disappointing to some, but to me, it is the definition of a truly happy holiday. Here are the reasons why I am celebrating a turkey-free Thanksgiving:
Meet Tommy, a “Free Range” Turkey raised in Ypsilanti, MI, nearby where I attend college:
Look closely, and you can see that the tip of his highly sensitive beak has been cut off and his snood has been torn from his head. Look into his eyes, and you can see his intelligence, curiosity, and personality. He is a gentle and kind bird who is no different from my beloved pets. If I stroked his feathers, he would purr with pleasure. If I got to know him, he would run up to me and give me a hug whenever I came to visit. But sadly, today he was taken to a slaughterhouse, hung upside down, and had his throat slit. He did not want to die; he was just the age of a young child. But he had no choice.
However, I have a choice. And in the true spirit of gratitude, I choose to let him live.
Lucy, unfortunately, was born a turkey raised for food. From the moment she hatched from her egg, her fate was sealed. All her life, she was seen as nothing more than an object to be bought, sold, eaten, and then forgotten. No one noticed her gentleness, curiosity, and playfulness. No one cared to see who she truly was. To them, all she was was a walking dinner to be sold as soon as possible.
She wondered what she had done to deserve this cold treatment, and dreamed of being free. But sadly, she was loaded into a transport truck just five months into her life and was taken to a slaughterhouse.
But in my eyes, she is worth so much more. She is a friend, a someone who deserves to keep her life as much as I do. Her life is far too precious to be destroyed for the sake of a single meal. I wish this never had to happen to her, or anyone.
When you sit down to eat your holiday dinner, please think of Tommy and Lucy, and the billions of animals like them. Change perspectives, just for a second, and see your meal from their end of the table. Truly, celebrating a turkey-free Thanksgiving is not hard at all. And to them, it means everything.