Tuesday, November 26, 2013
If I had been born a turkey...
If I had been born a turkey, an incubator would have been my source of warmth before I’d been born.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have vocalized for my mother while still in my egg but not heard her voice in response.
If I had been born a turkey, after pecking my way out of my shell, I would have been in an artificial, industrial setting.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have never known my mother and the comfort of her wings around me as I slept.
If I had been born a turkey, I’d have never felt the sun on my feathers or the dirt between my toes.
If I had been born a turkey, part of my beak would have been seared off without anesthesia with a hot blade. My toes, too.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have been genetically programmed to grow so big, so fast, I couldn’t fly like my wild cousins.
If I’d have been born a turkey, I would have likely had a heart attack or organ failure by six months of age.
If I had been born a turkey, I wouldn’t have lived that long, though.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have been crammed together with thousands of others in a giant shed.
If I had been born a turkey and a female, I would have been roughly inseminated by hypodermic syringe. If I had been born a turkey and a male, my semen would be removed by a “phallus manipulating team.”
If I had been born a breeding turkey, my eggs would be taken from me.
If I had been born a breeding turkey, my chicks wouldn’t have heard my calls, just as I couldn’t hear my own mother.
If I had been born a turkey, I would be kicked by hard boots to get out of the way.
If I had been born a turkey, my brittle skeleton would strain and struggle under my weight.
If I had been born a turkey, my eyes would burn from the ammonia from all the concentrated waste around me.
If I had been born a turkey, my legs would have been grabbed by quick hands and I’d be tossed into a crate in a truck.
If I had been born a turkey, sitting in a crate on a crowded truck would present my first and last opportunity to breathe fresh air.
If I had been born a turkey, when I got to my destination, I would be hung upside-down by my ulcerated feet in shackles and sent down a metal rack.
If I had been born a turkey, I would likely be electric shocked and/or stunned and have my jugular vein slit.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have lived and died this way.
If I had been born a turkey, I would have had no legal protection.
If I had been born a turkey, my organs would be removed and stuffing would be inserted into the cavity.
If I had been born a turkey, millions would say grace over my corpse at Thanksgiving.
But I wasn’t born a turkey.
I wasn’t born a turkey, so I can decide to not participate and if you are reading this, you weren’t born a turkey, either, so you can decide, too. Be grateful for this. I am.
Turkeys are majestic, inquisitive, affectionate creatures if given half a chance to thrive; forcing them into not only becoming meat machines but into the disabled and chronically suffering birds is the ultimate brutality we inflict upon them. For what? So we can maintain our traditions and temporary pleasures. Was there ever a more empty justification for cruelty?
The beauty of living today is that we can stop. We can not only opt out of violence but opt into abundance and the joy that comes from living in harmony with our core values. What an amazing gift. I will not trade this exquisite opportunity for an ingrained custom or fleeting pleasure; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When we can help people understand that the profound gratification that comes from self-alignment is far more delicious, tantalizing and worthwhile than anything that can be consumed, digested and forgotten, we will be there.
This is no sacrifice. This is no hardship. This is joy and abundance. We can decide today to not intentionally harm them or any other beings. This Thanksgiving and every day of the year, I am grateful for that. I was born a person who can decide for myself and I have decided to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving every day without harming another. I give sincere thanks for this.
Please remember that this is speaking to the 96% of turkeys in the U.S. who are born into concentrated feeding operations. If you think that this doesn’t apply to the "free-range" turkey you purchased, please check out this article and remember that no matter the treatment before the birds are needlessly killed, they are still needlessly killed and that is not reconcilable with compassionate living.