This weekend Canadians celebrate the holiday that makes me so sad. I've talked about the fowl/foulness of this day before, and where I feel turkeys really belong, but today I'd like to talk about the word Thanksgiving itself. It's the second part of the word "giving" that I find quite confusing as this holiday has so much to do with taking instead. How can we demonstrate "thanks" by taking the lives of so many? Do people really think that millions of turkeys are giving up their lives willingly? We talk about give and take as a practice of compromise, but when it comes to animals, why are we doing all the taking and they the giving?
Why can't we give thanks by letting beings live? What would be a better act of gratitude than appreciating all the wondrous species that cohabitate the planet Earth? Why don't we celebrate Thanksliving instead?
This prayer by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau has been circulated widely, but it's beautiful, and so appropriate for a holiday that spells horror for many:
My hope is that we can navigate through this world and our lives with the grace and integrity of those who need our protection. May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, and the wisdom, humility and serenity of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need of community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family of the geese, the adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.
My hope is that we learn from the animals what it is we need to become better people.
p.s. Unfortunately I was too late with writing a letter to the editor asking folk to consider celebrating the holiday in a more living way, but did manage to slap a few "New Vegan Age" stickers (thanks, Tom!) on a couple of butcher shop windows in town.