At this time of year, families across the United States are preparing to turn the bodies of over 45 million unique miracles of nature — bodies once filled to overflowing with young life and the desire to continue living — into the centerpieces of Thanksgiving “feasts” for diners in this most affluent of nations to gorge themselves on until literally sick with the pains of indulged gluttony. And in another month, turkeys in numbers so large as to be incomprehensible will be killed (as adolescents, just like all those we consider to be production units for “meat”) to be turned into Christmas celebration meals all over the world.Anyone familiar with animal sanctuary operations can confirm that turkeys are sensitive, social beings who nurture and protect their young and have a rich inner experience of life that is unique to each individual. Even when they are stressed and confined in concentration camps (whether “free-range” or otherwise), they have a passionate will to live. Following is a collection of some of our favorite Thanksgiving links. We hope our readers will use them to make their own holiday experience more meaningful, and maybe even to share with others the truth about who turkeys could be to us, if we would only open our hearts to them: fellow sentients with a wealth of remarkable qualities to be thankful for.
Here in Gentle World, the only reminder of the upcoming holiday is the occasional sound of free-living turkeys, chatting among themselves as they wander by our property during their meanderings around the neighborhood that surrounds us… The extraordinary sounds issuing forth from throats belonging to birds beyond my scope of vision translate inside my heart into feelings of delight in response, for which I am filled with gratitude. I’ve said in previous Novembers that to be blessed with a sighting of a turkey free in nature is all the Thanksgiving I need, but I have learned this year that I’m almost as content to settle for hearing one of their voices. I am officially thankful.
Melvin has been strutting up and down the hallway since dawn… After a while, he turns around slowly, laboriously, toilsomely, and drags himself back to the kitchen, heaving, and wheezing and staggering on gouty legs, then embarks again on the arduous, 20 step trek to the front door, parading in full celebration gear, big as a carnival float and as jubilantly bedecked as one… It’s Sunday. At least that’s what our calendars say – Sunday, the cusp of a new week – but, to Melvin, in Melvin’s sense of time, it’s something else, something brighter and luckier.
Increasingly, as consumers are becoming more aware of the extreme cruelty of animal farming, free-range, organic and ‘natural’ animal products are gaining popularity. What many people don’t realize, however, is that animals raised under these labels frequently suffer through much of the same torment as those in standard factory farming operations.
Whatever vegan dishes you enjoy, or even if you decide to fast in protest, remember that there is still much to be thankful for.
As expressed in the writing above, we agree with the sentiment of Joanna Lucas in her powerful piece What We’re Thankful For, where she acknowledges “the growing number of hearts who refuse to ignore this atrocity, refuse to support it, refuse to perpetuate it, and certainly, refuse to give thanks for it.”The words of Gentle World’s co-founder Sun come to mind, from her 2013 piece Why I Love Vegans: