UPC Projects Manager, Hope Bohanec, published this letter in The North Bay Bohemian.
Some traditions are positive and make society stronger, but some have proven to weaken our character, damage our health and are cruel to others. The tradition that we must scrutinize today is the merciless killing of billions of farmed animals, and particularly poignant this month, the Thanksgiving turkey.
What was traditionally seen simply as "food" by older generations requires deeper reflection and examination with new eyes. Much like chickens bred for their meat, turkeys are overcrowded in windowless, filthy buildings and forced to live in their own waste. Suffering and misery is all they know.
As people become aware of the wretched conditions birds endure in the poultry industry, companies are attempting to appease customers by describing turkey meat as "humane" or "free-range." Unfortunately, these labels are largely insubstantial and unregulated, and animals are still debeaked, de-toed, violently handled and sent to a frightening, painful slaughter under these "humane" labels.
Tradition should uplift and strengthen a community. As long as a tradition causes suffering, it is hindering our entire society's ability to thrive. By practicing compassion, love and kindness, we can create a society where our holiday traditions facilitate a better world, for ourselves and all species on earth.
Executive Director, Compassionate Living
Penngrove, CA Did you know that turkeys can swim? Learn more about these wonderful birds!
"Turkeys - Who Are They?"