18th December 2015
Christmas is never a good time for turkeys, especially if they have been purposely bred for the occasion. As synonymous with Christmas as Santa Claus, bon-bons and mistletoe has become roast turkey. The huge difference between all these things is that the latter is very much a real creature who very much wants to live.
Sadly, living was not what the tealeaves and his breeder had in store for a handsome bronze male turkey we have christened Seth Tibbott. But proving there really is a Santa Claus (although he may not always come dressed in a red suit and sport a long white beard), Seth is not going to become the centrepiece of a Christmas feast. Thankfully for him, a kind heart recognised that turkeys are friends and not food and stepped in to save Seth. So while Seth and his new lady friend, Helen of Prahran (an equally impressive bronze turkey hen), will dine on a feast of kindness, melons and grains, thousands upon thousands of other intelligent and inquisitive birds will not be so lucky. For them there is nothing to celebrate.
Did you know turkeys are intelligent, curious and sensitive birds and given the chance will readily display these things and more? They show their emotions, not on their sleeve but rather the bare skin on their throats and heads. This will change color depending on their mood. And for male turkeys like Seth, their snood (the fleshy appendage onto of their beak) can lengthen or shorten in response to their desire to impress you. Turkeys form strong bonds with those they like and will harbour grudges against those they do not. And boundless joy is what they exhibit when they do their little happy dance. Considering all these things may cause many to fundamentally rethink the before of their Christmas meal, perhaps this is why many people do not.
But kindness works in many ways—just ask the human Seth Tibbott, after whom our dear boy is named. Seth combined his business acumen with his passion for social justice, environmental sustainability and animal protection, coming up with Tofurky, a line of foods that contain no animal ingredients, are tofu-based and include a “turkey”-flavoured roast. This has made for delicious products and a profitable company that spares countless animals unmitigated suffering and cruel death.
So this Christmas, spare a turkey (and every other animal), have a Tofurky!