Letter to the Editor
November 19, 2020
To the Editor:
The New Hampshire Animal Rights League would like to respond to Alexander LaCasse’s article in the Portsmouth Herald featuring the Stratham farm where customers are invited to slaughter their own Thanksgiving turkey.
If, to paraphrase the author, the idea of killing your own Thanksgiving turkey is enough to make you consider becoming a vegetarian, we think you’re on the right track. No matter what words are used to describe the slaughter — whether one equates animals to crops and calls it a “harvest” or twists it into a religious ritual and calls it “spiritual” and “sacred” — in the end it is simply the unnecessary taking of a life.
We do acknowledge that the turkeys on the Stratham farm have a much better life and death than the vast majority raised for Thanksgiving (an estimated 45 million, for whom standard agricultural practice includes cutting off the beaks and toes of poults without anesthesia), but if the goal is improved animal welfare, not considering turkeys food would do far more to reduce animal suffering than seeking out a nicer way to kill one bird, once a year.
As a final point, backyard slaughterers employing the knife-braining technique, which is commonly used and imagined humane, should be aware that while this can immobilize the turkey, the bird may only be paralyzed, not unconscious, and thus fully experiencing its death despite being unable to move its muscles.
Members of the New Hampshire Animal Rights League will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with delicious vegan dishes that do not cause animal suffering. Check the freezer section of your grocery store for vegan holiday roasts. Why not make your “new Thanksgiving tradition” a meal that does not cause harm to animals.
James Glover, president
NH Animal Rights League, Inc.