The last four or five years around Thanksgiving we've adopted a turkey from the Farm Sanctuary, an organization close to my heart that aims to rescue farm animals from the often deplorable conditions in factory farms. Each year the boys and I would go to the Sanctuary's website, pick out a turkey we thought was the cutest and a little time later we'd get a little adoption certificate. It's sweet and it's been a great way to teach my kids some animal compassion.
While on the website, looking for our adoptee Turkey, picutres would appear about Farm Sanctuary's annual "Thanksgiving for the Turkeys" event at their New York shelter, and the boys and I would always lament how we wish we could go if only they had a shelter here in LA.
Turns out they heard us! (wink.) Two years ago, I believe, they opened a location only 45 minutes north of LA, and when the time came this year we jumped at the chance to go break bread with the birds.
Not only did the boys get a chance to feed the turkeys some cranberries and sweet potatoes, they also hung out with the rest of the animals lucky enough to live there--the pigs, the goats, the chickens, the cows, the horses. We learned their names and how they came to be there. We touched their bellies and rubbed their heads.
Whether my children go on to be vegetarian or not, knowing where their food comes from and learning that there are ethical ways to handle and eat animals is what I hope they always hold onto. Even if a turkey becomes part of their Thanksgiving tradition at some point in their lives, they will know to get it from a place that treats it well.
On the eve of Thanksgiving 2013, there is so much to be thankful for: our families, our friends, our health, our comforts, and of course our food in whatever form it may take.