After reflecting upon the meaning of Thanksgiving and how I can celebrate the holiday in a way that is compassionate, healthful and environmentally sensitive, I've come to a conclusion.
Thanksgiving is about life and liberty, but the 330 million turkeys killed in the U.S. each hear experience neither. They are crammed into large sheds filled with toxic fumes. Their beaks and toes are trimmed to reduce damage from stress induced aggression. After 16 weeks of misery, they are beheaded by an electric saw while fully conscious.
Thanksgiving is about good health, but the turkeys produced in today's factory farms are loaded with cholesterol, saturated fats, hormones, antibiotics and deadly pathogens like Salmonella and Campylobacter. Careful adherence to government warning labels or Poultry Hot Line directions is required to escape acute illness.
Thanksgiving is about bountiful harvest, but turkey production depletes our topsoil and water supplies and denies vital grains to the world's hungry people. Each year, the 7,300 US turkey factories spew out 10 billion pounds of manure into our waterways.
Consequently, I will join millions of Americans who will celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday with a guilt-free, wholesome, delicious feast that may include tofu "turkey," lentil or nut roast, stuffed squash, corn chowder or chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or pecan pie and carrot cake.
If I am pressed for time, I can choose from a rich variety of plant-based, ready-to-eat dishes in my local market. Several vegetarian websites offer elaborate Thanksgiving recipes too.