I wrote the following response to an article joyfully entitled "Diary of a Turkey Killer" by Novella Carpenter in today's Salon
Having just attended, with two hundred others, a wonderful meat-and-dairy-free Thanksgiving dinner at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, I found Novella Carpenter's story particularly jarring. While I have no doubt that her Pollanesque omnivorism makes Ms. Carpenter as "chic" as she apparently wants to be, her relationship with the animal is neither authentic (she has the bird shipped to her in the mail rather than hunt him down in the woods) nor one of genuine mutuality (the bird cannot *agree* to be killed).
Aside from the usual evasions and self-justifications that accompany pieces about killing animals to satisfy our tastebuds, the article also contains the usual dismissals of ethical vegans: those who want to end the systematic and massive cruelty meted out on the animals whose bodies we mutilate and deform to satisfy our love of cheap meat. In the case of turkeys in the U.S., that means 256 million violations of natural behavior and the common decency that I'm sure both Ms. Carpenter and I would agree should govern our relationship with animals.
It would have been nice if Ms. Carpenter had talked a bit about those animals, or even the other nine billion other birds who are ground in the mill of the factory farming machine. It would have been a gesture worthy of Harold's life if she had made his death the beginning of her campaign to end the suffering of the animals who didn't get to have her dedication and care. But sadly this piece, like so many others of its kind, really wasn't about the animal at all: it was about how Ms. Carpenter learned not to worry about killing animals anymore, and how you can, too.