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I like animals, all of them, and in my head I am a vegetarian. But, in real life, I am a weak carnivore and deeply ashamed by it. I don't really have an issue with animals being eaten, at least not philosophically, in an environment where they are also deeply valued as esteemed fellow beings- you know... old fashioned farms where they get to exercise, frolic, get nipped by a herding dog, mate, have their young ... or shot with an arrow by a sinewy native who then says a blessing as the animal's light fades from its eyes... (romanticized versions, of course!), but I do have a moral problem with the meat industry and how animals are treated in order to meet the quotas our society demands.
I was just going to write a cute post about turkeys on Etsy. There are some wonderful turkeys there! Like this sock turkey! Isn't it just the cutest toy for a kid?
Or, look at the elegance in this blockprint! The artist said she was inspired by the wild turkeys that run around where her parents live.
Meanwhile, back at the turkey ranch...
"More than 255 million turkeys were slaughtered in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. That means the average American consumes about 17 pounds of turkey meat each year. ...
Most of today's turkeys are intensively confined in crowded, dirty sheds with no natural sunlight, let alone fresh grass or woods to forage in or trees to roost in. Millions of tons of waste from these farms pollute nearby waterways and cause other environmental damage.
Selective breeding and growth hormones have been a boon to the meat industry, causing turkeys to grow very large over a very short period of time. But the birds, unable to withstand this unnatural size, suffer numerous chronic health problems."(ABC News)
And, good ole' PETA, of course runs in defense of the turkey. Their Peta Files, listed Top 10 Reasons to Pardon a Turkey. The first one is because turkeys are really smart birds who love to play. They compared it to eating your pet cat. Number eight might be more convincing to the health conscious:
"Turkey flesh is brimming with fat and cholesterol. Just one homemade patty of ground, cooked turkey meat contains a whopping 244 mg of cholesterol, and half of its calories come from fat. Turkey flesh is also frequently tainted with salmonella, campylobacter bacteria, and other contaminants. And a vegan meal won't leave you sprawled on the couch, belt buckle undone, barely able to move."
On the brighter side of life, fight all that bacteria with a nice turkey sachet:
Some things I didn't know about this poor bird, culled from baltimoremd.com:
- Turkeys originated in North and Central America, and evidence indicates that they have been around for over 10 million years.
- Until 1863, Thanksgiving Day had not been celebrated annually since the first feast in 1621. This changed in 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer."
- In Mexico, the turkey was considered a sacrificial bird.
- Domesticated turkeys (farm raised) cannot fly. Wild turkeys can fly for short distances at up to 55 miles per hour. Wild turkeys are also fast on the ground, running at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour.
- Only male turkeys (toms) gobble. Females (hens) make a clicking noise.
- The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed in at 86 pounds -- about the size of a large German Shepherd -- and was grown in England.
- Mature turkeys have 3,500 or so feathers. The Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and wouldn't eat it or use its feathers on their arrows.
- More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and 525 million pounds of turkey are eaten during Thanksgiving.
- Ninety percent of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Fifty percent eat turkey on Christmas.
- North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.
- Benjamin Franklin, the great American statesman, thought the turkey was so American it should have been chosen as our national symbol rather than the eagle.
- The fleshy growth from the base of the beak, which is very long on male turkeys and hangs down over the beak, is called the snood.Would you like some turkey feathers? Get them from Rana Muck, who harvests them sustainably. Lots of other great bird feathers can also be found in this shop.