That’s how many turkeys have been slaughtered, processed, frozen, and shipped to grocers across the country for Americans to buy and prepare for their Thanksgiving celebrations.
I know you’re already aware of the bird’s path from egg to frozen ball in your refrigerator, so I won’t waste your time going there. If you don’t know and are curious, Google will gladly enlighten you.
And yet, despite the fact that we have that knowledge in the back of our heads, we are still disconnected from the food we eat. Ask the average preschool age child where milk or eggs come from, and the child will say, “Wal-Mart.”
In the past, Native American cultures hunted and ate animals, but prior to hunting they asked permission of the animal’s spirit, and they saw animals as having rights equal to humans.
Now people use frozen turkeys as bowling balls, without thought of the sacrifice of the animal or of the people who would benefit from the nourishment those birds could have provided them.
The 45 million turkeys who will fuel our celebrations were each sentient beings, capable of feeling emotions. They had distinct personalities. They experienced empathy.
Those birds gave up their lives so that we may share this day with family and friends. Do they not at least deserve a few moments of your attention in return?
What of the cows who provided the milk to make the cream, butter, and egg nog?
Or the hens who lay the eggs used to make the salads, cakes, and dressing?
Should we give thought to the pigs who provide the bacon and ham used as seasoning in many dishes?
I ask that we do just that. Let us peruse our menus and consider how many animals are a part of this one meal.
And then, while recounting all of the things for which we are grateful, let us also give thanks for the animals making the meal possible.