How is it that every year we set time aside to celebrate genocide? It is no fault of anyone to have been following a concept that you’ve been brought up to believe. If that is all you know, then how can you know anything else? But what determines the issues and concepts that we challenge and question and those that we choose to adopt and never question? I believe (at this point) that it’s a matter of convenience.
When I began to question religion, it was because of the way it made me feel about being a woman and bi-sexual. It was a hypocritical personal attack. How do you preach compassion and discriminate at the same time?
But when it came to going vegan, that was a different story. Before going vegan I never questioned where my food came from beyond “is it organic” or “does this contain High Fructose Corn Syrup” (now labeled as “Corn Sugar”)? I questioned the health aspects of the food I consumed because I could see how it would be an inconvenience for me if I continued to eat foods that were full of pesticides and other chemicals. I never allowed myself to even think about the fact that the chicken breast I was eating was an actual chicken’s breast! More than likely I never questioned it because it didn’t inconvenience me to eat animals or their secretions.
Once I was made aware of the torture and oppression that animals suffered just to lease our palates, it didn’t take much to make that connection between an animal having feelings and emotions and an animal (every animal) not being seen or treated as property. It didn’t take much for me to make the connection between human and non-human genocide, between human and non-human rape, between human and non-human torture, and between human and non-human enslavement.
The decision to challenge and question the treatment of animals expanded to non-human animals, but this time it was a greater expansion as it was no longer about me. I made a decision to question what I support and act on it. I’m not proclaiming to be a perfect person or “better than”. What I am saying is that if you believe that animals are not property and that all creatures should live free from suffering, then you have the power to end that suffering.
Which brings me to Thanksgiving.Why would anyone question the origins of this holiday or the food that we over consume during that day when we get to be around people we (sometimes) love, get to indulge in food and drink, and over-all not care about much? The holiday just isn’t an inconvenience to most people. Well, most people who aren’t Native American.
Here are a few pieces from the on-line article Thanksgiving: A Celebration of Genocide. I highly recommend reading the complete article.
“If anything the first Thanksgiving was the kickoff to the systematic obliteration of a race of people that continues to this day, and is evident in the disproportionate poverty, poor health, and unemployment levels. Native Americans living on reservations have the highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and disease of any ethnic group in America.”
“The life of a turkey is filled with suffering that you and I cannot fully imagine. The majority of turkeys for your Thanksgiving table are raised in warehouses where they will never see the light of day, and allotted three square feet of space to live their abbreviated life. To prevent them from injuring each other in such cramped quarters, most turkeys have one-third of their beaks seared off with a red-hot blade, and their toes cut off, all without painkillers and all within the first few days of their lives. It is also typical to cut off their snoods, the fleshy appendage above the beak, with scissors.
These naturally sweet and social animals are unable to engage in normal turkey behaviors such as perching, dustbathing and sunbathing. Mothers and babies begin to bond while the baby is still inside the egg, as do chickens. When inside the egg, little turkeys are already able to vocalize and “talk” to their mothers. Young birds are completely dependent on mothers, and their absence renders commercially bred turkeys helpless. Sometimes they cannot find food or water because no one ever showed them how. Turkeys often form strong bonds with each other as well, sometimes with other animals. They do not have the ability to do so in crowded warehouses.
Since they have been genetically manipulated to develop extremely large breasts in a short period time, they grow so awkwardly large that they are unable to hold up their own weight. Because of this they are no longer able to breed naturally, so females must be inseminated through rape. This also causes serious health problems like heart attacks and organ failures, however, most turkeys never live long enough to experience these issues since they are slaughtered at around five months old. (Yes, you are eating a baby bird.)”
So maybe you won’t decide to spend this holiday any different that the past, but you can still decide to spend your following days differently. All I’m asking is that you open your mind and heart a little. Read, Think, and Act.
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