Thanksgiving: Worst day of the year for vegans
For vegans, Thanksgiving is a big, fat, roasted, dried-out, over-stuffed lie, served with a huge side of creamed and candied delusion. There was no peace with native Americans, let’s face the facts — the truth is we stole their land and we murdered them. Despite that, there is much to be thankful for. Mostly, I am thankful for vegans who understand the deep sense of despair we all share at this time of year. We mourn collectively on a spectrum from rage to resignation as we gather in sadness and offer support to each other. People we love are contributing to a massacre and yet, we try to appear hopeful and thankful for fear of isolation from our families.
I AM thankful.
I’m thankful I don’t live in a tin hut that looks out onto an open sewer like many people in the world do. I’m thankful I’m not hungry and thirsty and that there isn’t a tribe of fanatics waiting to rape me the minute I go out to get fire wood. That’s how most people live. I live in America, the “land of plenty” and I’m really thankful I don’t have cancer… yet. Yes, I’m thankful! I’m just not thankful for Thanksgiving because it is an intolerably ethnocentric and anthropocentric holiday.
Cruel performance art that crosses three time zones
This season, Americans will gather to pretend that families are the source of all comfort and happiness and to stuff themselves with dead turkeys and dead pigs — the epitome of basse cuisine, the opposite of haute cuisine. On Thanksgiving day, every American enters the stage as an amateur actor, willfully playing a bit part in an enormous and simultaneous demonstration of disigenuous performance art that crosses three time zones. This over-rehearsed play, a wannabe live version of the nostalgic painting of Thanksgiving dinner by Norman Rockwell, is, frankly, stale. Let’s face it; that painting depicting American abundance, multi-generational family closeness and cheer is a fantasy.
The reality of this holiday is starkly different and except for the one percent, there’s no abundance.
I hate to be a downer but hey, as someone who thinks about the needy, the oppressed and the murdered, I feel compelled to pull your blinders off and smash the totally inappropriate joy of Thanksgiving. We vegans are also sad for human animals on this national holiday. According to a census bureau report, roughly 46.2 million people remain below the poverty line. That figure was the highest in more than half a century. The truth is, there is an abundance of loneliness during the holidays with 33 million Americans (28% of all U.S. households) living alone.
Here are some fun facts from the census bureau:
Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security
- 50.1 million Americans live in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.
- 14.9 percent of households (17.9 million households) are food insecure.
- 5.7 percent of households (6.8 million households) experience very low food security.
- Households with children report food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2percent.
- Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (20.6 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.8 percent) or single men (24.9 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.1 percent) and Hispanic households (26.2 percent).
- 8.8 percent of seniors living alone (1 million households) are food insecure.
For us folks in the animal protection movement, this is, more than anything else, a day of mourning for the 45 million turkeys killed for this holiday. This is a day for shame, reflection and sorrow for the hundreds of millions of turkeys, pigs, cows and other animals who are abused and killed in America’s factory farms. Right now, millions of animal lovers are frantically trying to convince their loved ones to not contribute to this massive annual animal holocaust ritual.
All those kind-hearted people who feel good about themselves feeding turkey to homeless people on Thanksgiving are mindlessly contributing to animal cruelty. If one has any doubts about the way turkeys are treated before one carves them up, this undercover footage taken at a Butterball processing plant shows what goes on in every slaughter house. Watch it before you buy your next victim.
Watch these adorable rescued turkeys from Woodstock Farm Sanctuary
Even self-described animal lovers remain apathetic in the face of evidence that turkeys are routinely abused on their way to the plate. Millions of people who love their dogs and cats are inexplicably disconnected when putting a carcass in the oven — an animal who had the very same qualities they love about their pets.
What will it take to convince them? Videos of happy rescued turkeys? Videos of turkeys being tortured? Leading by example? We vegans torture ourselves trying to figure out how to be effective. Will it help if I’m really nice about the killing? Do I hide my tears to not upset my family? Do I take the Direct Action Everywhere pledge to never sit at a table with those who are eating dead animals? Will that work or will it quash an opportunity to speak on behalf of the carcass on the table — a chance to cause a painful moment that could potentially evoke an epiphany? I’ll keep trying. If I can somehow persuade just one non-vegan friend to have a cruelty-free day, it will be a good day.
Yeah, I’m thankful, all right. I’m very thankful I’m not a turkey.