As we look ahead to Thanksgiving – popularly known as “Turkey Day” – let’s take a moment to reflect on what we will be celebrating.

Thanksgiving is a harvest festival, a time to give thanks for the bounty of food that sustains us. In the time of the Pilgrims, this food necessarily included the meat of wild animals.

Some Mainers in rural areas still depend on the animals they kill to feed their families. However, for most of us, this is no longer the case. We live in a world of limitless choices, where we do not have to kill in order to have enough nourishing food.

Unfortunately, we also live in a world that glorifies killing. Children play video games where they slaughter pretend opponents; movies and TV shows expose us to endless scenes of violence; and young boys and girls are taught that it is admirable to kill unsuspecting animals for “sport.”

Why do we value only our own lives? Every time you buy factory-farmed meat – which is pretty much all you can get in traditional supermarkets – you are supporting an industry that subjects millions of innocent animals to lifetimes of unspeakable misery and terror, all while polluting the earth, air and water.

At the same time, we adore and spoil our dogs and cats, who are no more or less worthy than the animals we torture and eat.

In this time of reflection, ask yourself: Is this how you choose to give thanks?

Mary Wheeler

Scarborough