Letters from Nov. 17

Thanksgiving

Things to think about before you eat that turkey

Thanksgiving should be a time for celebration, not suffering, yet approximately 45 million turkeys — smart, social birds who enjoy taking dust baths, having their feathers stroked, and gobbling along to their favorite tunes — are killed every year for Thanksgiving dinner.

Before they are killed, they spend several months packed so tightly together in filthy, dark sheds that flapping a wing is nearly impossible. To keep the birds from pecking one another in frustration, factory workers cut off a portion of their sensitive upper beaks with a hot blade—without using painkillers.

At the slaughterhouse, turkeys are hung upside-down and their heads are dragged through an electrified “stunning tank,” which immobilizes them but does not kill them. Many birds dodge the tank and are still conscious when their throats are slit. If the knife fails to properly slit the birds’ throats, the birds are scalded to death in the defeathering tanks.

If this doesn’t sound like something to give thanks for, consider what you can do to make things better. Visit www.VegCooking.com for humane holiday recipes and information on purchasing a ready-made vegetarian Thanksgiving feast.

Heather Moore

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)