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Thanks again, Sharran for this wonderful Thanksgiving story -- and a reminder how important family traditions are. I too, had early traumatic experiences seeing my furry and feathered friends butchered and their roasted bodies appearing on the table. I became a staunch vegetarian, more and more staunch over the years. So my holiday tradition has become the preparation of marinated and roasted tofu, along with roasted purple potatoes and roasted table-queen squash, whole grain bread stuffing and made from scratch cranberry sauce. And a prayer of thanks that no animals gave up their life for my thanksgiving.
This article is very odd for me. But, then again, Thanksgiving is always very odd. I grew up in a household that did not welcome visitors, nor did it welcome family. I never knew any of my grandparents and the concept of having a dinner with extended family was 100% foreign (first of all, they were all too far away, second of all, no one liked them). I also grew up knowing that animals = dinner. My father spent 4 years in Vietnam during the Vietnam war, plus spent 2 years in Korea, so he sees almost all animals as some form of dinner or another. Not saying that I didn't have pets.. I grew up with dogs & cats like most people. But to shun eating an animal because it breathed and lived was unheard of.
I even learned the hard way that there was no Santa Claus when I was about 3. My father had gone deer hunting & had shot a buck. He had bought a clown-nose previously and, when he got home with the buck in the van, he put the clown nose on the buck's nose. He called my mother & myself out of the house to show us what he had brought home for dinner for about a month, and, looking VERY sternly at me, pointed at me and then at the deer. "You've been bad, so I had to go shoot Rudolph so Santa couldn't see you this Christmas" is what he told me. We still ate the deer.
When I was 5 years old, my father got me 4 baby bunnies for Easter. I named them Flopsy, Mopsy, Topsy, & Peter (from the Beatrix Potter books). He built a huge hutch that I could literally crawl into and it was my job to make sure they had food & water every day & to clean it top to bottom every Saturday morning after cartoons. We raised those rabbits for about 6 months. I don't think they were 3 females & 1 male because we never had babies, and bunnies are able to reproduce at 2 months of age, but didn't matter. They were very hand-tamed and would nibble on my fingers looking for lettuce or carrots. And, about a week before my birthday in October, my father had me & my sister come out to the back yard. He had me call out each bunny so that they would come to me, then I would hold the bunny by his hind legs & my sister would hold the bunny by the front legs, stretching it out. My father got out his club & wacked them smartly behind the head, killing them instantly. He then showed me how to gut & skin the bunnies, and I helped my mom cut & fry 'em up. We had bunny for dinner that night. Still love rabbit.. hard to find in grocery stores.
I know that this is a disgusting post & most of you are probably thinking I'm some kind of psycho. I promise I'm not. I have a whole passel of kitties at home and spent about 4 months mourning the passing of my golden retriever earlier this year. I love all my critters to the point of insanity (one of my kitties who passed away this year we called our $7000 cat because that's what her vet bills ended up costing in 2 years.. and we had adopted her from a local shelter). But, as a human, I understand that we didn't battle to the top of the food chain to eat tofu exclusively. I'm 100% for humane treatment of animals for slaughter / animal products (milk, eggs), and I respect those who want to be vegetarian by choice or by diet restrictions. But I'm still gonna eat me some nommy chicken / turkey / piggie / beef. http://lolmart.com/product/lolmart-shirts-baco-licious/
I respect meat eaters who still wanna eat meat. Its a personal choice. Still, I think of the Australian hunters who ask forgiveness - then thanks for taking a life and recycling it as a carnivore. We all could stand to respect the life that animals have, and that goes for other human-animals as well.