The season for the massive slaughter of turkeys has arrived once again. Between 250 and 300 million turkeys are raised for slaughter every year in the U.S. alone. And that is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg: in the United States, around nine billion animals are slaughtered every year, including 150.4 million cattle, bison, sheep, hogs, and goats, and 8.9 billion chickens, turkeys, and ducks. In Canada, 650 million animals are killed annually, and in the European Union, the annual figure is 300 million cattle, sheep, and pigs, and four billion chickens.
We treat animals as if they are goods for consumption. Yet, their bodies and lives are the same as ours. They want happiness and strive to avoid suffering. They are friendless and helpless, and no one comes to save them at their time of greatest need.
We can make this a Thanksgiving observance in which turkeys and all other animals can give thanks by taking a vow to abstain from meat eating, according to our capacity, and dedicating the merit to the welfare of all sentient beings.
Consuming only plant-based foods, even for just one day, cuts the root of animal slaughter, which is the demand for animal flesh. By having plant-based meals and thus saving the lives of animals, obstacles to our own liberation will be cleared away. For Dharma practitioners, vegetable foods purify our energies and help give rise to wisdom. It also protects our commitments and facilitates meditation. Other benefits of giving up animal flesh and maintaining a plant-based diet are that it protects the environment and helps to keep our bodies healthy.
Because the most important factor in the cultivation of Dharma is generating Great Compassion, I invite all Dharma students to save the lives of animals. Since not everyone is ready to commit to a plant-based diet for life, there are various ways in which you can save lives.
Please consider taking any one of these Vows, and dedicating the merit to the welfare of all sentient beings, especially to healing those who are ill or in danger of death:
- Consuming only plant-based foods for one day every month
- Consuming only plant-based foods for one day every week
- Consuming only plant-based foods for one meal every day
- Consuming only plant-based foods for any one week
- Consuming only plant-based foods for any one month
- Consuming only plant-based foods for any 3 consecutive months
- Consuming only plant-based foods for 1 year
- Consuming only plant-based foods for life
The turkeys thank you!