Letters to the Editor

Gentle Thanksgiving

November 19, 2011


To the editor: 

I’d like to propose a new tradition for Thanksgiving, one that is more in keeping with our holiday sentiments of kindness, giving and gratitude. The suffering of the turkeys on our tables stands in stark contrast to the joy of our family gatherings.

According to Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns ( in “More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality,” the turkeys who greeted the original colonists were friendly, playful and peaceful. I have met rescued turkeys at animal sanctuaries who love to cuddle and who have distinct personalities.

However, turkeys today in factory and so-called “humane” farms are prevented from expressing their true nature. Without anesthetics, they have their toes and beaks cut off, their snoods pulled off and are crammed motherless into buildings filled with pathogens and sick and dead birds. The end is the same for them all: a painful, undignified, undeserved death at the hands of people who have a choice. 

Let’s give turkeys a reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving and have a cruelty-free celebration at which we can be truly grateful for the wonder, beauty and miracle of all living beings. If you need ideas for great nonviolent recipes for the coming holiday, just Google vegan Thanksgiving recipes, and you will have all you need.

Peace to you and to all beings.


classclown 2 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the turkey on my table was the only one NOT suffering on Thanksgiving.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 4 months ago

Having no turkey on the table is not too bad. In fact it requires so much less time to have a great tasting dinner.

Someone mentioned Tofu. Try that Hot Fiesta tofu by Central Soyfoods. YO it is so good. Now imagine black beans,black olives,sharp cheddar,broccoli and Hot Fiesta all wrapped up in a Tortilla with warmed medium and flavorful salsa. YUMO!

We do thanksgiving with all the goodies leaving out the meat. Somehow the big eaters still walk away stuffed... never complaining. And always ready for the leftovers. Homemade veggie stuffing unstuffed is sweet ...oh my word.

Judy Carman deserves respect for her perseverance and respect for life across the board.

In the meantime let's all enjoy ourselves.


turkeyfriend 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for your letter, Judy. As I wrote in my book, More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality, substitution of new materials for previously used ones to celebrate a tradition is an integral part of tradition. In the religious realm, if we can substitute animal flesh for human flesh and bread and wine for "all flesh" and the shedding of innocent blood, and view these changes as advances and not as inferior substitutes, we are ready to go forward in our everyday lives on ground that is already laid. If God can become flesh, then flesh can become fruit. If the Peaceable Kingdom is a genuine desire and a practicable project, then fake meat is the food to which dead meat has aspired, and the fake meat makers are as deserving as anyone is of the Nobel Prize for Peace. Chew on that! Happy compassionate thanksgiving from all of your feathered friends at United Poultry Concerns in Machipongo, Virginia. Karen Davis, President.


fdouglass 2 years, 4 months ago


Thank you so much for sharing this, and thank you to the Journal World for publishing this letter. This is an important idea for people to be thinking about. In time most people will come to see that compassion, justice and fairness require that we shift our way of life away from the use/abuse of animals.

The responses this letter generated, are reminiscient of the reactions that proponents trying to end human slavery, give women the vote, and end child labor all generated. History is full of examples of otherwise caring, thoughtful, educated people who opposed socially progressive changes at first, but eventually came to appreciate that they were the right thing to do.

Today, we cannot understand how people of previous times, who considered themselves good and ethical, could have endorsed slavery, or subjugation of women, or child labor -- but they did. And many people who were progressive in one area, still had blinders on to other equally valid/progressive causes. (ie Lucretia Mott had to sit upstairs separate from the men at abolutionist meetings)

For those who might want to explore this issue further, here is an excellent article to start with:

And in case that link is not good -- if you google "Melanie Joy Why Eating animals Is a Social Justice Issue" , you should be able to find it.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday, and I am heartened to see more and more people marking the occasion with fabulous feasts that don't require killing --thus really honoring and being consistant with the idea of freedom for everyone.


Unreal 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you Judy, for your thoughtful and compassionate letter. Not surprised to read all the typical moronic statements from the meat-eaters on here though. Take heart in knowing that more and more people every year are foregoing the dead carcass on their thanksgiving tables, as vegetarianism and veganism is spreading quite rapidly. Especially when amazing organizations like Mercy For Animals continue to go undercover and film these hell on earth factory farms and go public with the footage, like what happened this past week.


Mike Gerhardt 2 years, 5 months ago

Judy, you are free to eat all the tofu you want, but we are having a ham and a turkey, so get over it.


Tony Kisner 2 years, 5 months ago

Judy, you have touched me. I will forego the frozen and go stright to the Wild Turkey that as you say can be so much fun. When the Wild Turkey has expired I will reach for the Old Crow. A decent bird for a guy on a budget.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all.

(lap primate - I am not sure about the drum stick but I have often felt the Wild Turkey had beaten me with something to cause my head to throp.)


Timothy Eugene 2 years, 5 months ago

I raise and slaughter my own turkeys every year. Chop their heads off very humanely with a very sharp ax. Can't wait to taste my farm fresh free range home raised turkey. YUM!


labmonkey 2 years, 5 months ago

Of course.... the obligatory turkey-free Thanksgiving letter.

I take it Judy hasn't been outside Lawrence much lately. Have you seen wild turkeys (artificially introduced and inflated)? They are stupid animals that take away from others' habitat. Also, you really cannot eat the drumstick of a wild turkey (and Wild Turkey has no drumstick).

Not to worry Judy, I am buying and cooking two this year so I will just have yours.


Brock Masters 2 years, 5 months ago

,” the turkeys who greeted the original colonists were friendly, playful and peaceful.

Of course, you're entitled to eat or not eat what you want, but I call BS on this statement. We have wild turkeys today and they are not friendly, playful or peaceful. Now they don't attack us, but they do attack one another, other birds and eats the young of other birds like quail.

Does this matter? Not when it comes to deciding on whether to eat them or not, but it does matter in terms of factually supporting your quest to tell others what to eat or not eat.


Liberty_One 2 years, 5 months ago

It makes them taste better, though.

P.S. I bought three turkeys this year because the price was so good. I love turkey sandwiches--take the leftovers, smother them with BBQ sauce and slap it on some bread. Mmm-mmm!


Commenting has been disabled for this item.