Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit the frog famously sang “it’s not easy being green;” perhaps, one of the greatest understatements ever spoken. No other adage seems to more succinctly summarize the difficulty in being a plant, an animal, or a plant-eating environmentalist in our technology-powered, consumer-driven, flesh-eating, industrialized world.

At no other time does Kermit’s sentiment become more apparent to me than when the holidays roll in. People expend valuable time standing in lines to buy the latest objects that will be tomorrow's discards, exhausting preciously-earned money on superfluous products and wasteful packaging. Moreover, this is the time when family members, coworkers, and friends discuss cooking turkeys and other animals as if it’s a sporting event or contest, comparing methods of sadistic madness. Cooking shows increase this proclivity as televisions hosts make jokes about removing innards and gizzards and putting their hands into the cavities of once tortured animals. Donations of dead turkeys to those less fortunate are paradoxically heralded as acts of kindness and benevolence, while nightly news programs feature innocuous segments on the “joys” of eating turkeys.

But rarely do we ever read, see, or hear about what really happens to those BILLIONS of animals—turkeys in particular—who endure short miserable lives just to become Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. The President performs his annual turkey pardoning—a kind of holiday gag—while we conveniently forget about the other 45,999,999 turkeys who aren’t shown one semblance of compassion, kindness, or mercy. The Presidential pardon is like some twisted official sanction to appease our wrongdoings so as to make us feel better about it. Turkeys are incapable of committing a crime worthy of a pardon; rather, it is us who continually commit crimes against turkeys and other animals by using and eating them.

The nightly news programs air fluff segments on Thanksgiving turkeys, but never seem to do insightful and muckraking investigations that shed light on the massive factory farms where thousands of turkeys are housed in dark, sickly conditions every day of their wretched lives. No where do we witness factory farm workers kicking animals, hacking off their beaks, slitting their throats, or forcibly inserting tubes into female turkeys, essentially raping them, in order to keep peak production—all of which are egregious, daily occurrences. When I try to tell people what really happens to turkeys, they say they just don't want to know about it, maintaining their ignorance at the expense of millions of lives abiding everyday agonies and sadness.

Conversely, those who aren’t afraid to know or speak the truth—those who show mercy, compassion, and kindness to all beings—are suppose to put on a happy face, go along with senseless and heartless traditions, and pretend as though what happens every year is our best way of saying “thanks." While the stench of death hangs around dinner tables and holiday events, and people mindlessly gorge themselves on animal parts and secretions, most vegans are mocked, avoided, ridiculed, and made to feel like they are from another planet. It's mob rule!

Humans have been destroying everything in their wake since they arrived on this planet, not to mention other humans—just ask a Native American (if you can find one.) Their effects have been devastating in every sector: the climate, the land, air, water, and wildlife. Those who strive to improve the condition of our planet and all life on it—environmentalists, vegans, consumer activists, animal rights activists—have an uphill battle as they confront and challenge deeply entrenched customs and institutions, economic drivers, and the status quo.

Kermit knew being green was not easy and so do I, but green, as Kermit said, is beautiful, and there's no other color I'd rather be.

Visit United Poultry Concerns to learn more about turkeys and other birds.

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