By Suzanne Westgaard
The holiday season is approaching, and as it always is, grocery stores are announcing all their sales of murdered animals for holiday dinner parties.
As an animal rights activist / advocate and vegan it’s getting harder and harder for me to see this. Unfortunately, there is no realistic way to avoid it. It is common knowledge that the pilgrims did not eat turkeys. So why does the brutal torture and slaughter of innocent turkeys continue as a usual way of celebrating Thanksgiving? Christmas is to honor and celebrate the birth of our beloved Jesus. I’m sure He would want us to do it by performing an act of kindness. He wants us to do the right thing rather than eat a brutally murdered animal.
Don’t think that the advertisements for “free-range turkey” are necessarily valid. And even if they were, that doesn’t change the fact that the turkey was murdered; but the meat industry tries to give the public the impression that if the turkey was “free-range” it had a good life. This is simply misleading advertising, not fact. It is death by murder of the turkey. Of course, the same is true for turkeys that are not advertised as “outdoor”, as the only difference is that their lives have been trapped in cages.
And speaking of cages, the chickens that are used for laying are so crowded and cramped in cages that they can’t even open their wings. Their beaks are cut so as not to injure themselves; not to protect them, but to prevent “damage” that would prevent them from being sold for human consumption. And the US Department of Agriculture allows the term “cage-free” to be used on egg cartons if the chickens are only out of the cage for an hour a day!
I volunteer at Luvin ‘Arms Farm Sanctuary in Erie. Every animal that has been rescued and now has a peaceful and secure life there is an individual with a distinct personality, character, demeanor, intelligence. There is a big turkey named “Walter”. He’s a nice and interesting guy. Another example is a pig named Felix. His companion and best friend, Desmond, died of medical problems. It was obvious that Felix was mourning the loss of his friend, and was very aware that his friend was no longer with him. His behavior was analogous to human mourning. Plus, studies have shown that pigs are very intelligent.
So you don’t eat “ham”, “pork” and “ribs”. As for the “baby ribs”, they come from a baby pig. Think how adorable piglets are. But they too are murdered. As for the “calf”, it was a young calf torn from its mother; “Lamb,” which was the innocent baby of a sheep; “Beef”, “steak”, “brisket”, which was a sweet cow.
Think about your pets. Hope you have animals because you love them. Those who have pets, as well as those who don’t, often express that they love animals. If you love animals but eat them, you are a hypocrite. Just like your pet, each animal is an individual with a unique personality.
It is incomprehensible how many billions of animals are brutally, horribly slaughtered. In many cases, it was the end of a life imprisoned in a cage. As the iconic Paul McCartney put it: “If the slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. To take it a step further, as an example, if the truth about the dairy industry were known, not everyone would be just vegetarian, but vegan. I will spare the details on this. However, going vegetarian is a good way to start.
Consider giving thanks by trying vegan alternatives. It’s amazing the number of delicious and tasty vegan choices. And let’s celebrate Jesus in a way that he would like: by showing kindness, compassion and benevolence not only to humans, but also to all the innocent, sensitive and intelligent animals whose lives will be needlessly, horribly, cruelly ended. .
Suzanne Westgaard lives in Boulder