Thursday, November 12, 2009

May I ruin your Thanksgiving meal?

I'm reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  The story is about how her family moved to rural VA and vowed that for one whole year they would only buy or eat food raised either by themselves or someone in their community or they would do without.  I love the idea of producing our own food or buying locally but if you saw my grocery cart this week you'd see that I haven't completely bought into the idea of doing without like the Kingsolvers did.  As I review my last paragraph I'm chewing on a piece of black licorice which, of course, I didn't make and I don't know where it came from.  Hmmm, just read the bag, manufactured in Hershey, PA, only 5 hours away.  That doesn't seem too bad except for the fact that the ingredients to make it could have come from anywhere.

There is one thing I bought this week that I now wish I didn't, after reading what I read today, and its our Thanksgiving turkey.  I don't know what I was thinking, probably, "well, that's a good price".  One of the reasons we raise our own chickens is so we can provide our own eggs and meat and know where it came from and that the chickens were treated as humanely as possible.  That thought didn't cross my mind when I purchased this turkey.  Barbara writes that 99% of all turkeys Americans buy are a single breed; the Broad-Breasted White, a quick-fattening monster bred specifically for the industrial-scale setting.  If one of these birds escaped slaughter they wouldn't live to be a year old because they get so heavy their legs collapse.  They're incapable of flying, foraging or mating.  That's right, reproduction.  Genes that make turkeys behave like animals are useless to a creature packed wing-to-wing with thousands of others, and might cause it to get uppity or suicidal, so those genes have been bred out of the pool.  To make more of these turkeys the sperm must be artificially extracted from male turkeys by a person, a professional turkey sperm-wrangler, and artificially introduced to the hens, and that's all I'm going to say about that.  See, there's a job out there for everyone but that's a sad job.

I wish I could return the turkey.  There's so much more I could say about this book but I'll save it for another post.  Time to milk the goats.

No comments:

Post a Comment