I do not like Thanksgiving. When I was younger, I wasn’t really a fan of eating. Mashed potatoes had a weird texture, green beans were vegetables, and stuffing was not macaroni and cheese. I might have eaten a bit of turkey here and there, but generally I just ate a few apple slices to appease my parents and moved on to a Cosmic Brownie.
Now that I’m older, I’m a huge fan of eating, just not Thanksgiving food. Mashed potatoes have milk, green beans have butter, stuffing has turkey juice all over it and turkey is a dead bird. Vegan Thanksgiving sucks.
I like the whole “giving thanks” thing, but Thanksgiving seems to have become more about stuffing your face with dead things, animal products and pie than being thankful. And if you don’t want any of those foods, then what’s even the point? Eating a few plain, steamed green beans and some pasta with mushroom gravy isn’t really a good celebration either.
But while my family passes around the turkey and I eat my green beans, I don’t regret becoming a vegan; I just think about how ridiculous the whole holiday is. Around 46 million turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving, and for what? It is a holiday celebrating the Pilgrims gaining a whole bunch of land because their smallpox killed off the majority of the area’s Native American population.
Now, I didn’t give up bacon and ice cream and other delicious foods for the sake of animals and I don’t expect you to either; that’s way too much to ask. But eating as much meet as we do as a society and for this holiday has a lot more negative effects than most people would like to think about.
For instance, most Thanksgiving turkeys are raised in factory farms where they are overfed, doped up on antibiotics and growth hormones that you will in turn eat when you eat their flesh, cooped up in cages where they can barely move and genetically modified to the point where they couldn’t move even if they had more space because their breasts are too heavy to even stand. Personally, I find these farming methods — as well as people’s financial support of them — to be more excessive, gross and selfish than an expression of thanks.
The United States has such a high demand for cheap meat that these factory farms are able to thrive by using these methods to produce a large number of animals in a small amount of space and a small span of time, and it’s not just affecting the animals or the people eating them. Factory Farms have a strong negative impact on the world around them too.
Factory farms now feed many of their animals grain to makes them gain weight faster, but it also makes the animals who do not naturally eat grain produce more methane: a greenhouse gas that traps heat and slowly cooks the Earth. Now, all of us living creatures produce methane. We all fart and poop and that’s basically where it comes from. But factory farms are producing so many animals who in turn produce more methane than normal and are responsible for polluting air and water and destroying the Earth.
And that’s why I personally gave up meat; to me, having the option to eat ice cream and bacon isn’t as important as other things. But really, meat eating is not the problem as much as how the excessive amount of meat we eat maintains factory farms and encourages their practices. It’s natural for people to be omnivores, but it’s not natural or healthy for people to eat as much meat as they do.
I’m not going to suggest that you eat Tofurkey instead of turkey this Thanksgiving. We both know that stuff does not compare to actual meat. But maybe you could get a free range turkey that didn’t come from a factory farm. Or better yet, have some awesome family time while hunting for your own bird from the wild. You could even say a vegan told you too. How great is that?
Also please remember to be thankful; the turkey isn’t really what should matter on Thanksgiving anyway. Just forget the turkey, literally. Leave it at the store if you have to. I generally don’t like Thanksgiving not because of the excess of meat or my under-exciting vegan meal, but because factory farms are profiting from a holiday founded on genocide and used as an opportunity to stuff our faces with the excuse of family time and thankfulness. If those excuses were real, then I think Thanksgiving would be a lot more bearable.