Turkeys All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

So it is the New Year and Christmas is long gone. Have you ever stopped to consider the trail of destruction our festive season has left in its wake? Walking into the supermarket frozen goods section I was confronted with a freezer taking up half the aisle that was entirely full of dressed turkeys.

Very few people eat turkey after Christmas, meaning they will simply be thrown away. Even though I do not condone killing any living being for food, isn’t it even more unconscionable to kill thousands of animals for nothing?

While other shoppers amiably continued with their shopping, blissfully unaware, I was rooted to the spot and fighting against the socially unnaceptable behaviour of shedding tears at the horror of the scene. I was counting the bodies…. There must have been over 80 of these murdered innocents. My mind was racing as I multiplied that figure by the likely surplus in every supermarket, and then again by every country around the world.

There must have been over 80 dressed turkeys in the frozen goods section of this supermarket. Being January, most of them will be thrown away. They will truly have died for nothing. Photo © Karen Johnson - The Elated Vegan

The concept I was trying to wrap my head around is that every one of these turkeys was once a warm, living body that housed an individual with a uniquely quirky and headstrong personality. Turkeys definitely have a mind of their own and are real characters with sociable natures. They also have a strong sense of entitlement to their own lives. They each would have struggled and protested in outrage and shock as they were forced to face their untimely death. And that is understandable isn’t it? As sentient beings their right to life should be inviolable.

Once you open your mind to the tragedy of just one of these once vibrantly alive beings fighting for their lives and being killed anyway, it becomes a massacre of unbearable proportions to think of thousands of them being slaughtered for no good reason, other than a marketing mindset that regards living beings as commodities, and allows for wastage by building in the expected loss of income into the price of projected sales.

No regard is given to the loss of life. Lives which can never be recovered.

Melvin, the turkey, and his 5 brothers were unwittingly rescued when school boys left them in the cafetaria as a prank. They now live happily at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. Photo © Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary.

Whatever Christmas means to you, it has come to universally symbolise peace and goodwill. In our manic efforts to clutch at the holiday festivity and cheer, could we have lost our way? At any time were we consciously aware of the impact our actions would have on animals as we raced around preparing the same holiday meals our families have prepared for years?

When we take a step back, we can see how negligible this tradition is in the big scheme of things. It has been practiced for at most 500 years out of the 200,000 years humans are estimated to have inhabited the earth. We can change. We can create a saner, more compassionate, more ethical way to celebrate our family holidays.

Roll this figure around your mind: 640 million. That is the estimated number of turkeys killed for human consumption every year.* If anything could be worse than that, it is the over 37% of their dressed carcasses that don’t even get eaten, they are discarded.*

Isn’t it time we acknowledged the life force that inhabits each and every one of them? Isn’t it time we included turkeys in our list of beings worthy of our consideration? Isn’t it time we extended peace and goodwill towards them too?

If you care about animals, please go vegan.

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