5 Reasons to Ditch Turkey this Thanksgiving


Tim Sackton

“Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]” by timsackton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Emily Kaplan

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and you are shopping for a last minute turkey. The supermarket is bustling with people looking for the ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal, but the shelves are relatively empty due to “Turkey Day” quickly approaching. All of the turkeys are sold out and all that is left is fake turkey, gross! While that might be going through your mind when you notice the absence of turkey, it might actually be a blessing in disguise.  


  • Turkeys are smart and affectionate with unique personalities 

Turkeys form strong bonds with their flockmates, and even with humans and other animals. They enjoy kicking around balls and are naturally very curious. They enjoy being snuggled, and will even purr or cluck excitedly when they are content. Turkeys have over 30 vocal ways of communicating with each other. They can recognize each other based on their unique personalities. Turkeys are also very close with their young, like human moms. When the babies are born, turkey moms will keep them close and under their wings until the babies are old enough to forage on their own. By consuming turkey, you are consequently ripping them away from their mothers who want to do nothing but love them. Why is it okay to do this with turkeys if we cannot do it with humans? Here is an adorable video of some turkey cuddles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgxPwNe1mR0&feature=emb_title 


  • Turkeys are kept in poor conditions and inhumanely slaughtered

The process by which turkeys are killed for consumption is a cruel and vicious one. First, the turkeys are thrown into transport trucks. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside down using something called the electrified “stunning tank”. This immobilizes them but doesn’t kill them. Many of the turkeys don’t go into the tank and are killed with a knife when they are still conscious. If the knife fails to kill them, they are scalded to death in a defeathering tank. Regarding the conditions they are kept in, in factory farms, turkey live for months in sheds packed so tightly that they can’t even flap a wing or stretch a leg. They live in their own urine, and ammonia fumes burn their eyes and lungs. Their toes and beaks are cut off without any pain relievers so they won’t kill each other. What is the excuse for allowing this level of suffering to occur?https://sentientmedia.org/10-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-eat-turkey-this-thanksgiving/ 


  • Harmful for the environment

Every year, about 46 million turkeys are killed for thanksgiving. We often don’t stop to think of the environmental toll that this takes on the planet. Turkeys and other farm animals produce 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population. There aren’t any federal guidelines to regulate how factory farms treat, store, and dispose of the trillions of pounds of untreated animal excrement produced every year. Additionally, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) estimates that growing food for livestock requires 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer each year across 149 million acres of cropland. This emits immense amounts of nitrous oxide, which is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The EWG also estimates that 20% of the world’s methane emissions comes from cattle. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/meat-and-environment/  


  • World Hunger

Millions of people go hungry and thirsty in the developing world every day. The grain and water that could be going to them are instead going to factory farms. 40% of the world’s grain is actually fed to livestock. World hunger could virtually end if we stopped animal agriculture! Why are we feeding an animal grain and then killing it, when we could just skip a step and give the grain to hungry people? 


  • Delicious alternatives to turkey exist

There are hundreds of turkey alternatives in this day and age. When the Native Americans and Pilgrims had their first Thanksgiving, they didn’t have access to all the delicious alternatives we have today. Some of these alternatives include Tofurky Roast with wild rice stuffing, Gardein Stuffed Turkey or Holiday Roast, Quorn Turk’y Roast, Vegetarian Plus Vegan Whole Turkey, Harvest Celebration Field Roast, homemade tofu turkey, and so many more! Many WESS students choose to ditch turkey on thanksgiving and replace it with a vegetarian or vegan alternative. Daisy Koffler, an 11th grade student at WESS reports eating, “vegan apple and pumpkin pie,” instead of turkey. Piper Karnilaw Maurice eats, “fake turkey… mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.” The options are nearly endless! Why not enjoy some delicious alternatives that no one had to die for?


Lets face it: if you have turkey on your table, you have a corpse on your table. If you leave it out for too long, it will begin to decompose. Is that what you really want as the centerpiece for your thanksgiving meal, a dead and decaying corpse? Remember, we might have something to be thankful for, but turkeys certainly don’t.