Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving Food for Thought

Dear friends,

The Thanksgiving holiday—a relaxing day to celebrate family and friends, to appreciate your blessings and to give thanks for all you have—is almost here. Unfortunately, the holiday also means the slaughter of 45 million turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner table centerpieces. While we understand that the turkey—a symbol for warmth and love and contentment—is a tradition of the holiday, just a quick review of what eating turkey really entails will be more than enough to destroy those unfounded associations. (If you are already convinced you don’t need a thanksgiving turkey, just skip down below for yummy ideas for alternatives!)

In fact, turkey production means anything but happiness. Take a minute to read up on the standard industry practice of strangling as a standard method of killing sick or weak birds or watch undercover video footage of the Butterball turkey farm. If you’re not up for actually seeing where turkeys spend their lives (in which case you probably shouldn’t be eating them), you can simply think about these intelligent birds who spend the last five months of their lives with less than 3.5 square feet of space per bird. The birds who have their upper beaks and their toes seared off with hot blades so they don’t peck each other to death in their stress-inducing conditions. The birds who, due to unnatural breeding techniques, now grow twice as fast and twice as large as their ancestors with especially large breasts, making it impossible for them to breed naturally (or as the report states, “males can no longer mount females.”)

But wait…maybe ‘free-range’ or ‘organic’ labels get you off the hook? Unfortunately, the standards are extremely lax, with free range meaning nothing more that the turkeys can go outside at some point in their lives. Yes, any positive step is a step in the right direction, but with conditions like this on an actual “free-range” farm, it’s hard to say how free-range is any better than factory-farmed raised. We don’t really think it’s better at all.

Luckily, the horrors of the turkey industry don’t mean that you have to go hungry on Thanksgiving; they just mean you get to explore new foods and start new traditions. And that’s the reason for this letter—to tell you about some delicious alternatives to the traditional turkey. Here are some links and recipes to help you create new healthy and humane traditions.

Tons of Thanksgiving recipes for appetizers, soups, entrees, sides, desserts, etc!
Tips for celebrating a veg holiday
196 Vegan Thanksgiving recipes
Sample Vegetarian Thanksgiving menu w/ recipes
The new Veggie Turkey Breast With Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffing, available at Whole Foods (what we’ll be having in my house, I hope!)
Pumpkin pie
• Post your own recipes in the comments section!

Now more than ever, we should all be thankful for having the ability to make ethical, humane and environmental friendly choices.

Best wishes,
Princeton Animal Welfare Society

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