Have a Cruelty-Free Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving coming up, of course I have to bring up the Turkey. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and guess what… I don’t even have to eat turkey to enjoy it. I know it’s tradition, but tradition doesn’t mean it’s right. The turkey industry is a very cruel industry and it shouldn’t be ignored just because of a silly tradition. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat on Thanksgiving too. I’m not telling you not to stuff yourself, just skip the turkey. Think about what that turkey went through before reaching your table.

The Turkey Industry

Every year about 40 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving. Turkeys, like other animals raised for food, are raised on factory farms. Factory farms are meant to mass produce animals and maximize profit, but come at the expense of the animals. Turkeys are packed into filthy, overcrowded sheds with thousands of other turkeys, where they spend their whole lives. Their beaks are cut off without pain relievers to keep them from killing each other from the stress.

Turkeys are genetically manipulated to grow as big as possible, as fast as possible. In the 1960s, it took 220 days to raise a 35-pound turkey. Due to selective breeding and growth-promoting drugs, it now takes only 132 days. Turkeys grow so big and fast they often become crippled under their own weight and suffer organ failure. They can’t even reproduce naturally and must be artificially inseminated. After 14 to 20 weeks, turkeys are transported to slaughter without food, water or protection from extreme temperatures.

In the United States, unlike many other countries, there is no federal legislation  protecting turkeys (or other poultry) on the farm, in transit, or during slaughter; and most state anti-cruelty statutes do not apply to farm animals.

This is a video from an undercover investigation from Mercy for Animals

Having a Cruelty-Free Thanksgiving

As long as people continue to eat turkey, this nightmare will continue. The best thing you can do for them is to keep them off of your table this Thanksgiving. There is the option of the faux turkey, but if that is not something you would consider, just leave the turkey out altogether. Cruelty is not a way to celebrate. There are also other ways you can make your Thanksgiving cruelty-free that are not as noticeable changes, such as vegetarian or vegan gravy, stuffing and other vegetarian or vegan side dishes. Here are five ways from PETA to veganize your Thanksgiving and tips for a vegan holiday.

You can also make a difference by taking part in the Adopt-A-Turkey Program by Farm Sanctuary. Through this program you can sponsor a turkey living at Farm Sanctuary that has been rescued.

Like I said, I love Thanksgiving and love to eat. My favorite cruelty-free foods to eat on Thanksgiving are mashed potatoes, vegetarian stuffing and green bean casserole. What are some of your favorite cruelty-free foods to eat on Thanksgiving?

Wild Animals Are Not Pets

Tragedy in Ohio

A recent tragedy in Ohio has been causing controversy about exotic “pets” and whether private ownership of these animals should be allowed or laws should be passed against it. If you have not heard about the incident in Zanesville, Ohio, here is a recap. On Oct. 19, Zanesville local law enforcement was called in to respond to an incident at a private residence where Terry Thompson had a menagerie of captive exotic animals. Responders arrived to find that Thompson had taken his own life after opening the doors to cages housing 56 exotic and wild animals. Police were force to shoot and kill the animals. Forty eight animals were killed, including 12 lions, eight bears and 18 endangered Bengal tigers.

Exotic Animals as Pets

Keeping wild animals as pets can not only be challenging and dangerous, but also cruel. By buying exotic pets, you are supporting the exotic “pet” trade business. In this industry, the animals are captured from their homes and suffer during transport. Many don’t make the journey or die prematurely from their environment.

The Risk to People

Image from Google Images

Wild animals do not lose their wild instincts when in captivity and if provoked can become very dangerous and may kill or harm their owners, or escape and harm or kill others. Reptiles and some other species often carry salmonella bacteria that is easily transmitted to humans. Although adorable as babies, wild animals can grow to be larger, stronger and more dangerous than owners may expect or can manage. Domestication of species of animals takes thousands of years and non-domesticated animals do not do well with people. Many animals such as big cats, primates and reptiles have attacked owners and other bystanders. Here is a comprehensive list of Exotic Animals Incidents from Born Free USA.

The Risk to Animals

Providing appropriate care for wild animals can be difficult. Although keeping wild and exotic animals as pets may be appealing to some, they have specific health, behavioral, and psychological needs that are extremely difficult to meet in captivity. Most wild animals need a living area that somewhat resembles their natural habitat and larger species need sufficient space. It can also be hard to meet thier diatary, as it can get very expensive. In most cases it is not only hard to meet the needs of these animals, but we still do not know their specific needs. Malnutrition, stress, trauma, and behavioral disorders are common in exotics kept as pets.

Government Regulations

There is little federal regulation of ownership of wild animals. The issue has been generally left to the state and local government to regulate. This means some states have laws against keeping wildlife as pets and some have no laws against it. In the state of Ohio there was no law regulating the ownership of Thompson’s wild animals. The tragedy in Ohio could have been prevented if Ohio had stricter laws on captive wild animals. Now Ohioans are calling for a ban on captive wild animals. But this isn’t an incident that only Ohioans should learn from, the rest of the country should also take note because it is not only dangerous and cruel for the animals, it is dangerous for people.

How You Can Help

Do not buy exotic animals from dealers or pet shops. Also, do not support private owners of exotic animals by visiting  places like roadside zoos and backyard menageries. Support legislation that would make owning exotic animals illegal and prohibit the interstate of exotic animals.