Thoughts on Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is really a pretty horrible holiday. It’s rooted in the genocide of Native people, celebrating colonization. Christopher Columbus was a terrible person. All around horrible historical basis. Throw on top of that the murder of approximately 45 million turkeys and that adds up to a pretty bloody cruel holiday.

What is Thanksgiving supposed to be about? Giving thanks? Spending time with loved ones?

But who gets to give thanks? The ones who are privileged enough to benefit from the effects of colonization in the U.S. and have the luck of having been born into the human species. That doesn’t sound like a good basis for gratitude and thankfulness.

When people say they can’t stop eating turkey on thanksgiving because of “tradition” I just wonder how hard it is to start a new tradition. Is the dead body of a bird so important to people that they can’t make more compassionate choices? If so I’m a little worried about their priorities. it doesn’t matter how good something tastes. If taste buds have so much power over a person that it overrides another beings right to life then that’s a bit alarming.

Even worse are the paper turkeys absolutely everywhere advertising their own species mass murder. When I walked into the grocery store last weekend there were cute animated smiling turkeys by the meat section with information on ordering a bird for the holidays.

This is one of the parts of food advertising that irritates me the most. The use of animated “happy’ animals to sell the flesh of their real-life counterparts. That is twisted on so many levels.

This year is a little bit harder for me to handle because I worked hands on with turkeys this summer at Animal Place Sanctuary and got to know them as individuals. I spent hours with one small female turkey, Molko and she won my heart.

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We would sit outside the barn in the sunlight and she would crouch next to me, waiting for strokes and butt scratches. Sometimes she would close her eyes and drift off a bit in the sun, utterly at peace.

Molko was one of many turkeys at Animal Place, all with their unique personalities.

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They are truly individuals, survivors of a harsh world that values them only for their weight, their flesh – ignorant to the individuals whose destruction they funded.

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It’s not that hard just to choose kinder choices. Make a vegan roast instead of a bird. Cook a bunch of tasty side dishes instead of animal products fraught with cruelty. A quick google search will yield thousands of tasty plant-based dishes. There is absolutely no reason to eat animals.

Thanksgiving is a nice way to bring family’s together, especially if you come from a large or spread-out family. It’s a nice excuse to eat delicious food. I know that. I love seeing my family during the holiday’s,. But no holiday is worth paying for suffering and maybe it’s time we reconsidered why we celebrate this holiday? Why do we continue to perpetuate the idea that this was some peaceful meeting between Europeans and Native Americans? We should recognize as a nation that many of the holidays we celebrate our rooted in the colonization and destruction of native cultures. Is that something we still want to be celebrating?

That’s a lot of questions and I don’t have a clear-cut way to remedy them. We can start by recognizing the ways in which so many holidays have become rooted in consumerism rather than the true values they claim to espouse.

This year, if you haven’t considered it already, start by giving thanks for all life. Start new traditions. Reevaluate why we celebrate what we celebrate and how we can work to live by the values of thankfulness and gratitude.

I know I’m working on it everyday. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m trying to do what I can with my life to make the world a kinder place. That’s all any of us can really hope to do.

Anyway. Those are just some thoughts on the upcoming holiday. Thanks for taking the time to read them.

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