Tag Archives: vegetarianism

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dearest American friends who will be reveling in the abundance of food and not the glory of imperialism this Thanksgiving,

1) Let’s just admit it – you’re probably going to feel a little “irregular” due to this food overflow, so you should start eating Activia right now according to all the ads I’ve seen recently.  Not only is it smart, but women everyone are partaking in this amazing food adventure!

My friend Heather looovvveeesss yogurt, and eats more yogurt than anyone I’ve ever met.

2) This holiday can also be a little ostracizing for the vegetarian community, as we do not bask in the glory of dead turkeys.  BUT, if you’ve never read this book, you should.

This is an excerpt from Jessica Almy’s review of Dan Pilvey’s book Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving at VegBooks:

In a playful parody on the classic Christmas poem, Pilkey brings a busload of children to a turkey farm where they befriend birds Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp, and Groucho.  The drama begins when the children question the farmer about an ax they have found, and his answer — that he plans to slaughter their friends – brings them to tears.

Happily for the children (and the turkeys), the farmer and teacher rush away to get cups of water to calm the crying children, which gives them time to become “calmer” and “mysteriously fatter.”  After they waddle onto their school bus, many with feathers busting out of their jackets, the farmer discovers his turkeys have disappeared!

I’m going to ruin the adorable ending for you:

The very next evening

Eight families were blessed

With eight fluffy Thanksgiving turkeys

As guests.

They feasted on veggies

With jelly and toast,

And everyone was thankful

(The turkeys were most!).

3) Holidays can be kind of crappy for people with annoying extended families.  I understand completely: I’m a feminist, liberal, unmarried, vegetarian, childless woman in graduate school procuring an allegedly pointless degree.  But now is the time to see the virtuosity of patience, or develop your niche for witty comebacks.  Check out Amanda Marcotte’s It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments for some comedic moral support.

This is Jordan.

4) And last but not least, consider sharing some of your abundance and wealth with others who can’t this holiday season.  Donate some canned goods to your local plethora of shelters (homeless, domestic violence, orphanages, etc).

Donate some money to Feeding America where every $1 helps to provide 7 meals to hungry families.  How that is even possible in this economic downturn, I’m not sure.

Or, save a turkey through the Farm Sanctuary.  Because turkeys are in such high demand on Thanksgiving, they’re exempt from any animal protection laws.  And hey, if you’re not cooking one, at least you won’t burn one!

Take care, and have a fantastic break!


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If you give a mouse a footnote…

Today NPR included a short segment on a tiny animal rights poem found in a footnote.  Entitled, “The Mouse’s Petition to Dr. Priestley, Found in the Trap where he had been Confined all Night,” the poem was written by Anna Laetitia Aikin (later Barbauld), the lab assistant to Dr. Joseph Priestley (nicknamed Gunpowder Priestly).  Priestley performed many experiments on mice while researching lung capacity during a time of heightened tuberculosis.

Anna did the dirty work of cleaning up the mouse carcasses and decided to write a poem on behalf of a mouse which would be the subject of the following day’s experiment.  NPR includes a cartoonish version of the poem which I don’t believe does it justice.

That’s just one small bit of the poem.  Here’s the poem in its entirety.  It’s really beautiful, and without these childlike images of mice, it takes on a powerful voice of power, equality, and justice.

Clicking on the page will take you to the website where you can continue reading the poem. It's pretty short - only 12 verses.

The issue of animal rights was far from young (you can learn about the Wiki version of animal rights here), but the issues of rights and freedom were definitely current, as the poem was written in 1773 (think revolutions).  This poem was originally published in poetry collection written by Aikin/Barbauld, and you can read them all online here.  <- That website actually includes several other links to scholarly works and websites on Aikin/Barbauld.

According to this University of Maryland site, the poem was reprinted in The Female Reader, written by feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft, and was a likely source of inspiration for Robert Burns’s “To a Mouse.” If you don’t know Wollstonecraft, you should, because she’s a righteous babe.

And yes, this was all recently rediscovered in a footnote in Richard Holmes’s book The Age of Wonder.

Listen to the NPR story here.

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