Hey Flock Members,
Danielle here, OHH’s Outreach Manager.
November started with World Vegan Day, and toward the end of the month we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States. Thanksgiving at my house has always been about family, of course – and so much food that you have to roll from the table to the living room, then onto the couch for a nap. Admittedly, it is still about that, though now I have not one, but three celebrations and reasons to overstuff myself with goodies. The first is Canadian Thanksgiving, which I celebrate with all my friends in the Great White North; then Thanksliving at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary; and then the aforementioned Thanksgiving meal with my family. Two of these celebrations are a true delight for me to participate in, because the feasts are completely free of animal products. But, alas, the latter is not.
I’m sure you understand “the family thing” when it comes to holiday meals. You try hard to focus on everything that’s good – family, friends, delicious food – but you sometimes have to ignore the dead animal on the table in front of you. How do you deal? What knowledge do you reach for when you try to have careful conversations with everyone about why you’re vegan, or when, unfortunately, a heated debate starts?
If you’re like me, you could always use more book smarts for these holiday situations, so we at Our Hen House are giving away a copy of Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight by Timothy Pachirat. #PRIVATE# This is more than just a book – it’s a tool. In order to be effective in advocating for animal rights, we need all of those we can get. We need a plethora of angles to advocate for animals – this book provides. You need to be able to share stories that listeners can relate to – this book has them. (So does, for that matter, the Our Hen House podcast interview with Timothy, from back on Episode 118.)
When you’ve been at the holiday dinner table (or elsewhere) and have brought up why it’s completely wrong to eat animals or exploit them for flavor, how many of you have been asked, “What about people? Don’t you care about people?” (This happens to me at least once each time I leaflet.) Within the pages of Every Twelve Seconds – Timothy’s brilliant and detailed description of the time he spent working undercover in an Omaha slaughterhouse – you will find an excellent rebuttal. People are exploited when animals are turned into food. Workers are asked to perform jobs that very few people could do – that few are willing to do – and at great cost to themselves and their families. That’s something you could bring up next time you’re faced with this question (which might very well happen this Thanksgiving, since meat-eaters’ defenses might very well be up toward the end of November).
This year marks my fifth vegan Thanksgiving. On that first Thanksgiving without any animal products on the table, I could never have imagined how much my life would change. Instead of eating an animal whom I adored, I tasted Tofurky for the first time (I’ve since mastered that Tofurky Roast). This year, which marks my Mom’s second vegan Thanksgiving, I’ll be thankful to share delicious vegan eats with her, such as her fabulous stuffed mushrooms with cous-cous, or perfectly prepared Tofurky and Field Roast, and, of course, pumpkin pie. She’s my only ally at a table that holds both our cruelty-free meal and the body of a turkey just like the turkeys I could easily spend hours with at Farm Sanctuary and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Most of my relatives, my father included, just do not get it. My aunt in Florida does – she had been vegetarian, and after seeing Vegucated and sobbing for 15 minutes (I’m sure you can guess the part where that happened), she went vegan! My dad, the same man who talks to my dog and cat in what I can only describe as a baby Valley Girl voice, nevertheless announces that “animals don’t feel pain the way we do.” My uncle calls my dog Arcot “Pooky Dooky,” and he reasons with my cat Pekoe, saying, “No, no, I can’t. I can’t pet you. I’m allergic,” to explain why he really shouldn’t touch her, even though her cute captivates him (and he’s drawn to touch her every now and again anyway). And yet, I don’t think that there is a day that I spend with my uncle that I don’t hear him mention hunting, or make fake shooting sounds when he sees animals – or, if we’re at his house, actually get up from the table and grab a gun to go out and shoot someone! My father, my uncle, and most of my extended family are just not the type that will have an awakening to the “animals are our friends” argument. I get it. (Though, I admit, I still hold onto a smidgeon of hope anyway.)
The truth is, even with all the family stress, I cannot help but love November and Thanksgiving and all the celebrations. I know that there are some family members who might be open to change, and I love that there are so many tools we can use as vegans to help navigate those (sometimes tense) meals with our non-vegan family members. A book like Every Twelve Seconds is another piece in this amazing puzzle we are putting together as we all work to change the world for animals.
For your chance to win this life-changing book, enter a comment below about how you handle holiday meals with mixed family. Be sure to include your email address when you’re commenting so that we can contact you if you’re the winner. You have one week to enter, which means that you have until Thursday, November 14, at Midnight EST. A randomly selected winner will be chosen on November 15. Good luck!
Happy eating, and joyous activism, to everyone this holiday season!
Flock Exclusive: Navigating Thanksgiving (BONUS: Giveaway of “Every Twelve Seconds”)
Hey Flock Members,