After the American Civil War, the United Sates have made Thanksgiving a national holiday to commemorate “the first Thanksgiving” where the Pilgrims and the Natives shared a meal as a sign of “peace” (the Pilgrims killed the Natives after the dinner) to show gratitude for the upcoming fall and the blossoming of its crops. There is no historical evidence that points out that turkey was served at the dinner table, it is more likely they shared deer and/or duck. It wasn’t until the end of the civil war that the holiday became nationalized as a sign of national union—and turkey started to be served. There are various theories on why turkey began to play its central role in the festivities, but the main and most reliable theory is based on the fact that by autumn, farm animals such as chicken and cows are still productive, laying down eggs and producing milk. Whilst turkeys do not have any other “productive” or consuming function other than live and then die to get eaten.
Due to the tradition, in the 20th century the wild turkey started te become extinct, this made the food industry develop new reproductive and feeding systems that would multiply turkeys and make them larger and cheaper. This outbreak allowed the vegetarians and scientific community to take a step forward and speak out for the rights of turkeys.
“Humans seem to take a perverse pleasure in attributing stupidity to animals when it is almost entirely a question of human ignorance.” -Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Here is a list with facts about the life of a turkey:
- The nervous system of a turkey is very similar to that of mammals. They suffer physical pain and human emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, boredom, pleasure, and enjoyment.
- Turkeys hold complex social relationships where they can communicate through visual and vocal means.
- Turkeys have been observed to display an overwhelming amount of concern and emotion for an injured or dying bird. When a factory-farmed turkey has a convulsive heart attack, it can cause other birds around it to die, arguing the strong sensibility in these birds.
- Veterans and autistic people have used turkeys as emotional support pets since their senses can detect when they are experiencing anxiety or when an attack mig
- ht occur.
- Turkeys have a “happy dance” where they show excitement and joy by the display of ducking and dodging, with wings outstretched and a frisky shake of the head.
- Turkeys need each other, whenever a turkey is removed from its group, the turkeys squawk in protest until they are reunited.
- These birds mourn the death of a flock member and can anticipate the pain of others.
- The production line of factory-farmed turkeys produce more than one bird per second, causing a harmful and oppressing work environment for the factory workers where they cannot move from their assigned position. These workers are usually immigrants with minimum wage salary.
- 45 million years of evolution separate turkeys from chickens.
- Turkeys can run at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.