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Unhappy Turkey Day

Post written by VegBlogger. Follow me on Twitter.

One of the most overused things people say near Thanksgiving each year is "happy turkey day." It's kind of strange to me, because when I was a child I don't remember hearing it. I recall people saying "Happy Thanksgiving." I think it is sad to hear people say "happy turkey day" for several reasons, which include:

  • Many people like to believe that turkey has always been a part of the traditional holiday feast and was even served back at the first Thanksgiving. But this not accurate, you can read more about that here. Besides, if they want to change the name of the day to something that has been present since the first Thanksgiving, why not choose the fruits or vegetables? Or why not say "happy pumpkin pie day?" I have a feeling there is more, or at least as many, slices of pumpkin pie being consumed that day.
  • People who have used the saying to replace saying "Happy Thanksgiving" have made a disconnection with the meaning of the holiday. To them, the holiday is nothing more than a day to eat a bird. It is not about being thankful for all they have to eat; it focuses on one thing on their table. Would they be so happy about "turkey day" if that were the only thing on the table? Why no love for the potatoes, corn, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, among the many other “traditional” options?
  • I find many people think that it's funny to tease vegetarians about Thanksgiving. Some will even go out of their way to say "happy turkey day" or talk all about just the turkey. Do they not realize that most of what is on their table for that Thanksgiving feast is vegetarian? Do they not realize that even the turkey they are about to consume was likely fed a mostly vegetarian diet (albeit loads of corn, but it is still vegetarian)? In essence, these people are eating a vegetarian meal, but they are using a middle supplier (the turkey) to consume part of it. Vegetarians and vegans skip the middle man (or turkey) and go right to the source.
  • The vast majority of people who will be eating a turkey on Thanksgiving could not kill or watch that turkey be killed in front of them to make it possible. It is easy for them to avoid this because the meat industry is so hidden and people do not make the connection between a nicely packaged turkey carcass at the grocery store and a big beautiful bird filled with feathers.
  • Happy turkey day? Are you kidding me? Turkey's are not happy, especially anywhere near Thanksgiving in America! In just 2008 alone there were 250 million turkeys in this country that were slaughtered. What is there to be happy about? Are people saying they are happy about such carnage? They can’t seriously be celebrating the death of millions of harmless birds, are they? Plus, raising 250 million turkeys each year (which is actually down from previous years) creates an enormous amount of waste product, which contributes to contaminating our planet. The more accurate saying would be "unhappy turkey day."
  • What is happy about eating turkeys on Thanksgiving when it means that people will spend 8 hours or more per day killing birds? How can this be good for morale and/or the person's psyche? Nobody should have to make their living by killing animals all day. Americans would be up in arms if it were particular animals being slaughtered all day, such as cats and dogs.

I can't help but to think that if the people who have lost "Happy Thanksgiving" from their vocabulary understood all the death, destruction and misery associated with it, that maybe they would think twice about eating turkey on Thanksgiving, or on using such a term.

Each time you hear “happy turkey day” from someone this year, just reply with a “Happy Thanksgiving” and realize that ignorance truly is bliss.

Sanctuary 210
(this turkey is living its life in a sanctuary - it really is a happy turkey day for this beautiful bird)

Related articles:

Turkey Production on the Decline
5 Reasons to Not Eat Turkey
Turkeys on Steroids
The First Thanksgiving Feast


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Here here! I don't get the "Happy Turkey Day" either. This especially coming from those that know I'm a vegetarian but I suppose it's automatic for them.


I agree, Jessica. I think it has become automatic because they hear so many others say it. And the turkey industry loves that people do it...


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