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The Presidential Pardon: A Mockery of Suffering

Every year, when I see the "traditional" presidential pardon of a turkey, I’m so disgusted, not just about the pardon itself, but about the way the journalists, both live and in the studio, and the people at the event, think it’s all just knee-slappin’ high comedy. Everyone jokes, CNN’s Jeannie Moos does a bit where she asks random people on the street what they think the turkeys (there are two–one is an understudy) should be named: Ben and Franklin, Flyer and Fryer (particularly disrespectful), a couple of others, or they could choose their own. One person said: "Bush and Cheney, but then I wouldn’t pardon them."

It’s all fun and games until someone loses his or her life. Like 55 million someones.

In Riding the Gravy Train: In a Thanksgiving Tradition, One Small Turkey Serves an Entire Nation in this morning’s Washington Post, Anita Huslin reports that the National Turkey Federation and Harry Truman began the pardoning tradition, "presumably to help Americans feed okay about consuming millions of other roasted birds the next day. But as with many things in life, guilt and absolution are not always pure."

She tells the real story about the turkeys, who are bred to be pardoned. And the ones who don’t get chosen are slaughtered. I had no idea the lengths we humans go to to try to make ourselves feel better.

As interesting, is this Thanksgiving card.

If I sent it to anyone but vegetarians, I’d get only hostility in response. Kudos to whoever designed the card.

I’m grateful that I have people who support me in my choices, and I’m grateful that, little by little, humans appear to be waking up to the fact that we can decrease the amount of suffering piled upon nonhuman animals, one meal at a time.

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