Turkeys: The voiceless victims of Thanksgiving

Jonathan Dupin, Staff Reporter

Thanksgiving, that coziest of holidays, brings the whole family together around the dinner table to gobble up heaping portions of mashed potatoes, green beans and, unfortunately, 45 million turkeys.

The holiday’s modern consumerist interpretation, which champions the sickening practice of overeating in a world plagued by starvation and unequal distributions of food, is an ironic inversion of a meaning that was once rooted in prayer and fasting.

Glossing over the perturbing lack of reason for celebration other than to whitewash the genocide of millions of Native Americans, Turkey Day is not only oddly ceremonial, but sacrificial as well.

Turkeys are friendly and intelligent creatures with vibrant personalities expressed in the way they sing along to music and cuddle up to have their feathers stroked. Their astounding social mannerisms are a dead-on reminder of our own behaviour, exemplified by instances such as where a group will play soccer together after having been tossed an apple.

And whereas in nature turkeys can live up to a decade, in the meat industry they are slaughtered at a young age, never surpassing several months.

Their deaths are neither peaceful nor dignified. Many are dragged along the assembly line upside down, still conscious as their improperly slit throats are lowered into scalding hot cauldrons, where they are boiled alive.

With little regard for their bodies, the industry genetically and hormonally manipulates turkeys into weighing over 10 pounds more than they used to in 1970.

Thanksgiving is a holiday plagued by illusions: the illusion that American Indians were happy to have white settlers take over their land; the illusion that overeating is acceptable in a world where children starve because of a severely broken food distribution system where first world countries such as America waste up to 40 percent of their food; the illusion that we eat intelligent creatures for any reason other than tradition.

While Americans find themselves surrounded by centuries old propaganda and seemingly unquestionable practices, Americans are hardly helpless; every waking moment is an opportunity to grow and change with the times to work towards a brighter, more honest future.

This year, challenge America’s cultural paradigm which promotes ignorance and mass consumerism, and pursue a path of healthy skepticism.