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?

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Have You Met Your Meat?

When I began getting involved with animal rights and learning about animal cruelty, it all started with a video named “Meet Your Meat.” Now that I’ve decided to write this blog and share what I know, I thought it was only right to start you all off on the same foot. Of course if I’m going to tell you how to change your habits and live animal friendly, you probably want to know why you should even care.

It amazes me how so many people eat the meat given or available to them, but don’t bother to question where that meat is coming from. I know I was guilty of this at one time, but now realize ignorance is not always bliss. Once I learned the conditions these animals are kept in and the cruelty they endure before being slaughtered for my own personal gain, I wanted no part of it.

We see pictures of farms everywhere with happy cows grazing freely in green grass, but the reality is, most animals raised for food live miserable lives in confined, dark facilities called “factory farms.” Factory farms were created to mass produce animals and keep up with demand. The animals are treated simply as commodities to be exploited for product.

Picture taken from Google Images

Animals used for food are genetically manipulated to grow as large as possible, as quickly as possible and often become crippled under their heavy weight. Chickens have their beaks seared off with hot blades and male cattle and pigs are castrated, all with no pain killers. The animals spend their brief lives in dark and crowded warehouses before being cramped onto trucks and transported to slaughterhouses. Many die during transport because of the harsh conditions or are so weak by the time they arrive they can’t walk off the trucks. Once in the slaughterhouses, the animals are hung upside-down and their throats are slit, often while they are completely conscious.This is the reality of where most meat comes from.

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.” – Paul McCartney

Here are some options to stop the support of factory farms and live more animal friendly:

Vegetarian: Did you know by becoming a vegetarian you can save more than 100 animals a year? When I decided to stop supporting animal cruelty, I decided to be a vegetarian. I don’t eat any meat including chicken and fish. Some people decide to eat only chicken, but because chicken are small, the average meat-eater is responsible for the deaths of more chickens than cows. This is why when choosing not to eat meat, chicken should be the first thing cut from your diet. I get asked what I eat just because I am a vegetarian all the time and I say “everything you do, just without meat in it.” It’s really that easy.

Vegan: Going vegan is also an option. Vegan is a lifestyle people follow in which they avoid the use of animals for food, clothing and other human purposes. Vegans do not eat any animal byproducts including eggs, milk and gelatin. Although I would like to eventually transition into a vegan,it can be hard to do because the options are more limited.

If you are looking for motivation, go to www.meat.org to sign a pledge to be a vegetarian for 30 days. The Web site also includes free vegetarian or vegan recipes and a free vegetarian starter kit.

Other Options: If you are not willing to stop eating meat, there are other options to live more animal friendly. Humanely-produced meat from ethical farms is available. Also, organic or free-range meat is an option, but be careful because the guidelines to get these labels on products may not be as humane as it sounds or looks on the package. The animals can still be exposed to animal cruelty and conditions just as bad as factory farms. However, just being conscious of where your meat comes from can make a difference.

It’s up to us to make a difference. What are you planning on doing to live more animal friendly?