Thanksgiving Safran Foer

1058 Words5 Pages
When one thinks of Thanksgiving, the first image to come to mind is a beautiful, stuffed turkey placed in the middle of the dinner table. However, is this turkey so vital to the Thanksgiving feast, that without it the holiday would fall apart? In an excerpt from his book, Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer argues that the Thanksgiving turkey, despite its prevalence during the holiday, is not essential to its celebration. He establishes this claim by challenging the belief that Thanksgiving would not be the same without turkey. He also argues that if Americans are truly celebrating their thanks, slaughtering turkeys is not the way to do that. Finally, he explains that the tradition of eating turkey was not part of the original Thanksgiving,…show more content…
However, is that really true? Safran Foer explains that turkey wasn’t part of Thanksgiving festivities “until the nineteenth century”, as well as other foods associated with the holiday, such as cranberries and corn (250). No one can’t say that they’re eating turkey because of tradition if it wasn’t eaten until two centuries after Thanksgiving. If Americans want to use this reasoning, they should be eating bean soup, which is believed to be served at the actual first Thanksgiving in the late 1500s (Safran Foer 250). Furthermore, even if turkeys were eaten at the first Thanksgiving, despite not becoming a tradition for 200 years, the turkeys eaten then were nothing like the turkeys we eat now. “The very genetics of our birds are radically different,” Safran Foer explains (250). Today’s turkeys are pumped with antibiotics, bred in captivity and unable to reproduce sexually, while the turkeys at the time of the first Thanksgiving would have been free to roam and live their life naturally. (Safran Foer 250). The only hard part of their lives was when they were killed. In contrast, today’s turkeys spend their entire lives imprisoned and living in harsh conditions, making it inhumane to keep raising them for their meat. Safran Foer proves that if celebrators of Thanksgiving want to honor traditions at Thanksgiving, then they need to reconsider what the Thanksgiving tradition really
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