My latest rejected Op-Ed

I submitted the following Op-Ed to the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Perhaps it’s obvious why this wasn’t published. Perhaps not. I did edit this particular letter down for the blog, since I had incorporated time-sensitive information and a space-filling tangent to begin with. Anyway, these are just some Thanksgiving thoughts I didn’t want to leave buried forever in a long-forgotten Microsoft Word document:

This Thanksgiving, when millions of people across the country reflect on what to give thanks for over the past year, consider the centerpiece of your meal. While in times past a carved turkey or ham on one’s table may have signified that a family had enough financial security to celebrate a special occasion with a feast fit for kings, these days animal products symbolize excess consumption and cruelty.

Doesn’t it make sense to give thanks for what we have without doing so at such a great cost to others? Animals are individuals, sentient beings whom we all too often treat with indifference, except perhaps for our own animal companions. But turkeys and pigs are morally no less relevant than our furry friends. And, while we’ve known for some time that consuming animals is unnecessary, many of us don’t take the time to think about why we continue to breed and kill them, as if the taste of their flesh and secretions somehow trump the intrinsic value of their lives. Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity to reconsider this imbalance.

Fortunately, the wholesome staples of a vegan diet–grains, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits–are widely available and, as consumers have become more conscientious about what they put in their mouths, grocery stores have begun catering to the rising demand for vegan convenience foods, including specialized products for Thanksgiving. These products are no longer consigned solely to natural food stores. Even Shaws has gotten into the action. Prefer to cook from scratch? Simply Google “vegan Thanksgiving recipes,” and start browsing! You’ll find an astonishing array of festive recipes that will have you salivating.

There are not many opportunities for the average person to make a difference in their world, but veganism is a powerful statement for peace that one can make at every meal, including one as full of resonance as Thanksgiving dinner. By removing the violence from our plates–meat, eggs and dairy products–we consciously choose to cultivate a more compassionate society, one in which animals’ interests are taken seriously, and that is something to be thankful for.

Make your Thanksgiving a compassionate one. Choose vegan.

It reads kinda weird to me with three paragraphs lopped off, but they don’t contribute anything to the core message, so you’re not missing anything (other than maybe a little better flow).

Happy turkey-free/free the turkeys day.

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9 comments

  1. I think this is an extremely well-written, even-handed piece. But, of course, the newspapers don’t want to upset their readers on such a hallowed holiday (much more hallowed than our Thanksgiving in Canada). So, I guess they’ll just include the recipes for cranberry sauce and dead bird stuffing and ignore your excellent submission.

  2. Thanks for posting that link, Jo. I did see the story after I posted my Op-Ed, but I had to get out for a Thanksgiving potluck for the BVA.I’m going to keep working on the local papers. They’re not going to get more animal-friendly on their own. 🙂

  3. Thank you, Eric, for reminding me of the unnecessary sufferings of farm animals. I do stray occasionally from my vegetarian diet and your article reinforces my belief in doing the right thing.

  4. Hello everyone. I’m a spanish AR activist. We don’t have a celebration equivalent to thanksgiving here in Spain, but, if it comes to bird’s rights, I encourage you all to see the last action we in my org heve carried out: an Open Rescue of seven hens from a battery cage farm. We got main screen channels attention:

    Thank you all to make this world a better place for we all animals.In solidarity with them, Jose R, Equanimal’s Open Rescue Team member

  5. I am starting to think that the best way to get people interested in not eating animals is to point out the climate change implications. A lot of people have come around to an anti-cruelty way of thinking in the last 20 years or so, but I wonder whether the remaining ones are sufficiently selfish that we have to appeal to self-interest? What do you think?

  6. There are some valid environmental reasons to reduce or eliminate the consumption of animals and their secretions, but I don’t expect the environmental argument to get a significant portion of the population to go fully vegan. Without a moral underpinning to veganism, there’s less incentive to take it seriously, to take it to heart. After all, what’s a burger once in a while in the overall scheme of things? (or so I can hear people saying) Same goes for health, one of the most selfish avenues we have for discussing plant-based eating. So, while people’s concern for global warming offers us a way into a conversation, the tack that will lead to lasting veganism is one that helps educate people as to why they should care about and protect animals’ interests. This can be quite a personal, effective argument, done well, and allowing breathing room for people to make their own decisions.Ask most vegans, and they will say they went vegan for the animals, but that it was the best decision they ever made (implicitly for themselves, considering how much better they feel as a person).

  7. Congratulations to your team jose ramon!Another persuasion is to introduce easy to prepare and tasty vegan meals. Don’t tell your dinners that it is vegan and let them judge for themselves.

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