Thanksgiving Without Turkey?

It works for me! Here's why
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Thanksgiving Without Turkey?

It works for me! Here’s why

-Maureen Angelos

A woman with veggies and fruits

“If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?”
Sarah Palin
, Going Rogue

The former governor of Alaska poses an interesting question, one that I, unlike her, am not theologically equipped to answer. But I can say why I will not be eating any tempting (though divinely-made) critters this Thanksgiving.

I stopped eating meat for the first time at age 14, while watching a PBS special about the commercial hunting of baby harp seals. I ended up crying over my frozen dinner, ruining the special occasion, Salisbury-steak meal I had loved so much until then. Harp seals aren’t part of anyone’s diet, but I still didn’t think the seals should be killed, anymore than I thought my cat Boots should be killed. Animals were animals. I considered them my friends.

But I lived in a meat-eating household, and despite my newly found food militancy, I couldn’t maintain my vegetarian diet. I slipped back into “regular” eating for fifteen years, until my father died of a stroke. I decided I’d rather give up eating animals than struggle with cholesterol as he had. (And I was still haunted by that PBS special.) I quit meat for the second time. It’s like quitting smoking: you usually have to do it more than once before it sticks.

Yet I held on to the Thanksgiving bird, feeling truly grateful to the creature I consumed annually. I made it a point of preparing it myself so I could thank it respectfully for feeding me. Several years later, I gave up turkey, too, after becoming aware of how animals are raised for food. The turkeys I had thanked so much had probably lived pretty thankless lives as overfed, death-row prisoners that never saw the light of day.

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