Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanking the bird

Turkey photo shamelessly stolen from Lynne's Hasty Brook


Tomorrow is an interesting day for a birder. Many birders are meat-eaters, and thus will eat the Thanksgiving turkey as is traditionally done in this country. However, some of us (like me) are vegetarians -- for all kinds of reasons, personal to each of us.

Some of the biggest reasons I'm a vegetarian are ecopolitical, but some are just personal preference and my own emotions. Here are a couple of my reasons for going veg:

1. the mass production of meat and meat products strains our environment in many ways. Perhaps you've heard of CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. These are your factory farms like Tyson Chicken or your large beef producers. You can find out more about them from the EPA, the CDC, or a more politically minded organization like this one. In short, it is my belief that CAFOs are bad news. Others may disagree, and they're free to do so.

2. I love farm animals. They're furry and cute, and their little lives are just as precious to me as those of birds, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other animals. I know that I couldn't slaughter an animal for food, so why would I ask someone else to do it for me and then package it in a nice little plastic tray to assuage my conscience?

3. I don't buy that whole predator/prey thing. I realize it's the law of nature, and raptors have to kill songbirds to survive, etc. But I have free will. I choose not to kill anything with a face just so I can eat, especially when there are plenty of plant-based foods I can eat instead.

Anyway, those are my own personal reasons; I don't try to convince others to believe as I do, because eating is a personal decision. Still, I must confess that I think it's weird that birders would eat chickens, turkeys, or other fowl. Once again, as is common on the bloggy, my naivete is gonna show here, but when I was growing up, I guess I never connected the "duck" in a dish like Peking Duck with the little mallards, wood ducks, and canvasbacks that I love to watch through my binocs. And the geese! Poor brants and Canadas, their lonesome honks silenced, end up on people's dinner plates? How could a birder watch a songbird or a wild turkey, noting field marks and marking the bird on the lifelist, but then go eat one for dinner?

Sheesh. That's just weird to me. Still, I guess my hope is that tomorrow, when you're being thankful for life, love, family, and other such things, you'll remember to thank the little guy (or gal) on your table too. Do it for me, okay?

26 comments:

John said...

I agree with you on point #1.

egretsnest said...

We all have our reasons for everything we do. I did make sure to get a free range organic turkey so at least I know it enjoyed it's life. We're pretty much switching to all local/organic meats. Factory farming is pretty awful stuff.

FranIAm said...

While I have yet to go vegetarian, I think about things -especially point 1, more than you would think.

dAwN said...

Well you certainly give good points to go veggie...HUMMM...I think I will have lots of veggies tomorrow...

Mary said...

Delia, truth is, I could live on Potato Chips. Lays or maybe Utz.

We eat white meat or fish regularly but if I were living alone, I'd have yogurt and potato chips for dinner.

I do love a cold turkey sandwich, though. Beef once a month is always on the menu.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Gobble Gobble

NCmountainwoman said...

We do indeed thank the bird, and the beef, and the pork. We are very fortunate that our local "gourmet" market specializes in meat from farms that treat their animals humanely. (Well, except for the slaughtering part which I don't believe can be humane.) They have brochures about the farms and it is nice to know the animals were treated well.

The meat is quite a bit more expensive, but well worth it. As for birds, we eat more fowl than anything else. We may actually see wild turkeys in the yard while we eat the Thanksgiving bird. I know our habits seem incongruous to a vegetarian. They seem that way to me sometimes as well.

Bubs said...

Was the picture of that turkey taken right before it tried to peck someone's eyes out? They're vicious birds...

Seriously, though, your point about factory farming is well taken.

Have a happy, turkey-free, Thanksgiving.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Ah the curious human brain has so many ways to think about things and to explain their actions!

I think most of muddle along with only about 20% or so of real life well understood.

The other 80% we either totally miss or make it what we need it to be!

As much as I enjoy seeing the local flock of wild turkes make their rounds, I'm still going to enjoy that cooked one tomorrow! But, no pumpkin was sacrificed for us!

KGMom said...

I have had a completely different type of experience--and think your statement we make our own decisions for our own reasons applies.
I grew up on a farm (of sorts--a mission station in Africa) and watched animals being killed for food. So that part does not bother me.
What does bother me is factory farming and the food production industry. We are a far cry from the intimacy of raising animals and then killing them. Factory farming makes it production line.
Good thought provoking post!

MicheleRF said...

I am not a vegetarian but do think it is strange that at our annual local Audubon Society banquet we always have at least one chicken dish.

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm with you, Delia.

Well... except for meatballs. Don't think I could live without them.

;-)

Kallen305 said...

I agree w/ point one too. I do eat poultry (chicken and turkey only) about twice a week. I am addicted to dairy and like eggs as well.

I do not eat beef, pork or anything else that walks on four legs. I have been like this since a toddler when my father used to try and force me to eat roast, chops, etc.

I could live on Boca Burgers, veggies and sugar without a problem.

I love fish though and should have more of it to compensate for my overall lack of protein.

dguzman said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and for not throwing rotten vegetables at me.

John--Point #1 is hard to argue with, if you have a soul. Dick Cheney is, of course, exempt.

Egretsnest--That's cool; if I were to go back to meat, I'd definitely do local free-range and organic.

Fran--At least you're aware!

dAwN--atta woman!

Mary--hee hee! Me too! Just because I'm veggie doesn't mean I eat healthy all the time.

NCMtnWoman--thanks for understanding.

Bubs--lol! It's possible! You'd have to ask Lynne, the photographer.

Rabbits' Guy--good to draw the line somewhere!

KGMom--yeah, farm kids have a different view of the process. Thanks!

MicheleRF--welcome to the bloggy! that's funny--but I guess chickens aren't really listable...

Laura--you can eat the meatballs, then.

Kallen305--Welcome to the bloggy!My dad used to try to make me eat venison. Blech! I could never go vegan because I love dairy and eggs too. Good protein sources!

Larry said...

I agree on point one also.-How do you know that vegetables don't have feelings?-just kidding.

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