I agree with Tim Waddingham that Americans have much to be thankful for, and one thing that I – and the more than 15 million other vegetarians in this country – give thanks for is the ability to live my day-to-day life without supporting factory farms and slaughterhouses.
Turkeys are gentle animals who relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck and gobble along to their favorite tunes. In the wild, they spend their days caring for their young, building nests, foraging for food, taking dust baths, preening and roosting in trees.
Before they are killed, modern factory farmed turkeys spend five to six months packed in filthy sheds. Farmers slice off a portion of their upper beaks with a hot blade to keep them from pecking at one another in frustration. During slaughter, they are hung upside and dragged through a "stunning tank," which immobilizes them but does not render them unconscious. Many are still conscious when their throats are slit. Others are burned alive in the tank of scalding water used for feather removal.
Thankfully, there are many great-tasting vegetarian alternatives to turkey. I encourage students to visit GoVeg.com or VegCooking.com for more information and fabulous recipes, or to call 1-888-VEG FOOD for a free DVD, recipes and more.
Director, Vegan Campaigns
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)