Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, we’re bombarded by recipes for every means and method of stuffing, brining, and roasting turkeys. At the same time, vegetarians, vegans, and animal advocates desperately try to rise above the din and urge the public to leave the turkey off the menu in favor of plant-based sides and mains.
The problem is that by the time these well-intentioned campaigns begin, it’s already too late.
Not only do most people not want to forego their butter-basted bird, by October — and certainly by November — 45 million turkeys will have already been brought into this world, confined, de-toed, slaughtered, eviscerated, trussed, and frozen.
With another 22 million turkeys killed for Christmas and with an unnaturally short gestation-to-slaughter period of about 5 months, the time to start talking about behavior changes is long before the artificial insemination of turkeys begins (spring/summer).
BUT THIS IS WHERE I HAVE HOPE!
What we do today and the weeks and months that follow will have a direct impact on the animals we’re choosing not to eat tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
SO START NOW! Even if you eat turkey this Thanksgiving, make a pledge to leave turkey off your plate next year by starting today! (And let this be your message to friends and family this holiday season.)
Hone your skills NOW and be prepared for the days ahead. Here are some tips to guide you:
- Proclaim your pledge. Research shows that by simply stating your intention to do something new increases the likelihood that you’ll actually do it.
- Recruit help. Tap into the knowledge and passion of your friendly neighborhood vegan, or take The 30-Day Vegan Challenge (the price is reduced for the online program, and a gift option is now available! (Alternatively, the book is a fantastic resource!)
- Try some new plant-based products! Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at what you see!
- Practice new recipes now. We all rotate the same dishes again and again! See what you make that’s already plant-based, make easy switches for others (plant-based milks and butter in place of dairy, for instance), and then try a couple new recipes. (You know I’m going to point you to my favorite cookbooks, right?)
As you commit to making this change for the coming days, may you find that this holiday is enhanced by creating food-based rituals that affirm rather than take life and that celebrate the fact that neither our values nor 45 million animals need be sacrificed in order to celebrate a single holiday meal.
It’s never too early to start planning for a compassionate future.
Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.