This is going to be a brief post, just to make sure I don’t fall off the wagon during this busy part of the year. For one thing, I have been involved in completing a massive and very time consuming as well as complicated project that I hope to be done with tomorrow.  For another, I caved and will be going to Thanksgiving dinner at my SIL’s house after all.  That meant putting together a spectacular outfit in the middle of all kinds of other preparations, including finishing that afghan for another SIL (Geoff’s sister), that I started twenty years ago with some very expensive yarn that amazingly, still looks good.  I won’t even tell you all the other things that we have going on and are trying to squeeze into these few short weeks.  So, my posts may be erratic until the whirlwind spirals down.

I was, once again, going to post about dreams.  Then, of course, I heard a story that made me both unhappy and angry.  And, it is not even something that I hadn’t known about, it is just that I hadn’t heard it packaged inturkey one quite this way before today.

The White House is ‘pardoning’ the turkey again this year. But this time they are taking this a step or two farther.  For one thing, there are two turkeys this year, one is called Popcorn and the other Caramel.  One of them will be named the top turkey or the one that gets this official pardon.  The other will not.  Neither will be slaughtered to be plucked and put on a platter and served as “food”, luckily for them.

The top turkey will be decided by voting at the website.  Apparently the histories and profiles of these two animals are posted there at the website — I can’t bear to go there and look at it.  I also heard that they have been acclimated to the ceremony at the WH tomorrow by being trained to sit on a similar table and cloth, and have been raised on various types of music, so they won’t freak out if there are sharp noises and confusion during the ceremony.  They heard Vivaldi and Beyonce, for example.  Hmmm.

Frankly, I don’t understand what kind of mockery this makes of all of us, unless, of course, this is something for children to do.  If so, to me, this is a sick, pathetic joke.

Do we really want children to look at these two animals who have been partially anthropomorphized by being given names and bios, and know that they are part of a group of animals that are raised purely to be killed?  Is this not the disconnect that parents continually commit when they read charming stories to babies and toddlers about chicks and lambs and calves, only to serve those animals on the child’s plate in short order? Why don’t people see this contradiction and recognize that it starts a child down the long path to turkey twocallous indifference.  In the name of something that isn’t even healthy to eat, especially the way the animals in this country are raised, in deplorable, filthy and inhumane conditions.

No one whose consciousness has been raised to the suffering that takes place would want to contribute to it in any way, much less feast and celebrate on it.  To me it is obvious that this is barbarism and taste perversion and I don’t mind saying so. When I host Thanksgiving, there is a turkey on my table.  It is a beautiful ceramic soup tureen I bought in Italy and I put roasted autumn vegetable soup in it, that is delicious, healthy and harms no one.

And let’s get rid of this ridiculous term ‘pardon’, as if the turkey has done something wrong and must beg for its life.  That is macabre and tragic.  Words matter because they shape our thinking.  I know this is meant to be a clever gesture that plays on the idea of Presidential waivers when someone has committed a crime. Only the most pedestrian mind would fail to see the inappropriate irony of going through this charade on a day when people sit around and congratulate themselves on their good fortune.  Some are even truly grateful and thus honor the idea of the original thanks  giving meal properly.  But to overlook the fact that our human pleasure and even gluttony on this day, comes at the expense of animals who belong to an industry that treats poultry as if they are made of wood, feeding them into shredders, live as we saw behind Ms. Palin during the 2008 election run-up, is to be criminally oblivious.turkey four

I know I am in the minority on this subject, but thankfully, I am far from unique in this point of view. I am not afraid to stand up for what is right nor do I shrink from the possibility that others don’t want to be awakened from this stupor that enables us to sit by and allow these things to continue, simply because they are done out of sight, very deliberately by this disgusting industry.

There are so many things to be thankful for.  One of them should be the evolution of consciousness and the potential it confers on us to rise above base appetites to a level where we can extend our net of charity to the turkey threeother kingdoms that are under our dominion.  I am a human being with the ability to reason, empathize, identify with suffering and do something about it. I am not helpless. For that I am supremely grateful, now and every year at this holiday.

Let’s spare turkeys and other animals, and dispense with this sad yearly ritual both in our homes and at the White House.  That is the proper term and the right and good thing to do.

Image: Beth Byrnes, Ebay


8 Comments on “Dis-Sparity”

  1. This made me think of some of the things I’ve heard others say to justify our twisted relationship to animals – a student at my school came back to me this year after summer break and described to me her hunting trips with her family in Africa (VERY rich family, one of the richest at the school). She was going on about everything she killed – a giraffe, a zebra, etc. – and when I expressed shock the she enjoyed killing these creatures, she said matter-of-factly, “oh no, you see they tag the old and sick animals out there and those are the only ones you are allowed to shoot.” I couldn’t help myself, I had to press her on that…soooooo that brought you happiness, somehow? What is the sense of accomplishment one gets from driving around in an SUV and shooting sick old animals, exactly? I can’t really relate to that, sorry.


    • There you go. It is the parents who get a child started on this and destroy their innate sense of tenderness toward animals, as well as right and wrong. How disturbing is it that this process is complete by high school age? It also reminds me of the fact that hunting is a disgrace and no kind of sport, whatsoever, except for the poor beleaguered animal trying to escape predation. I have this problem with the hunters in the family. They just don’t get it and for the life of me, I don’t get them. And, what kind of parent does someone then become, who would hunt and prey on weakness in any species?


  2. It’s sad and angering – bad enough to butcher animals for food but adding this element of ridicule – it’s hard to understand the thinking behind it. Part of the problem is that the original meaning of holidays like Thanksgiving is lost. Iconoclasm replaces reverence. Factor in the disconnect between humans and the production of the food we eat. Et voila!


    • I could almost stomach the notion of some sort of truly instant, humane slaughter of an animal for food in desperate situations. But animals have become commodified for profit and that thoroughly appalls me. Anyone who wants to eat an animal raised and killed in this manner should be forced to go and visit/take a tour of the facility and witness the process first and then decide.


  3. I have to agree- and I’ve really never understood the practice of symbolically ‘pardoning’ a turkey. As you say, what exactly did it do- other than being born a turkey- that requires a pardon? And the competition thing- to see who lives or dies- is really quite morbid.
    Good luck with all your preparations- and have a happy holiday!


    • Exactly. I was so tempted to go to the WH website and give Obama a piece of my mind, but I cannot bear to see those two turkeys, and I recognise that most people think I am overboard about this, because they are fast asleep themselves, so what would be the point?


  4. Too many people are, indeed, ‘fast asleep’ to the extent that those of us who aren’t are often vilified for our ‘over-sensitivity’- or some such nonsense.

    The soporifics that make up the majority of our ‘information’ diets lately- that are being fed to us by our governments and the media- have farther reaching and more potentially damaging effects than the all the tryptophan in our Thanksgiving turkey dinners.

    Keep putting your voice out there- some of us ARE listening- and grateful that you take the time to express your thoughts and opinions!


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