31 December 2006


It's been 25 years to the day since I ate turkey. I gave it up on 31 December 1981. Consequently, no turkey has suffered or died on my account for the past quarter century.

Addendum: Sometimes, in talking to omnivores, I get the sense that they feel impotent. They can't solve the problem of animal suffering all by themselves, so they throw up their hands in defeat and go on eating meat. But that's not the only way to look at it, and I would argue that it's not the right way. How many problems can be solved—in their entirety—by a single person, even over the course of a lifetime? Does the fact that you can't solve the problem of human suffering mean that you shouldn't do whatever you can to prevent and alleviate human suffering? Surely not. You're one person. You make decisions every day about what to wear, what to eat, what to feed your children (if any), where to shop, what to buy, and so on. Take responsibility for your decisions. Formulate defensible principles and strive conscientiously to live by them. That's what moral integrity—being an integrated person rather than a fragmented one—is all about. Has my abstention from turkey for the past quarter century made any difference? Yes, it has. There is still a turkey industry in existence, but I haven't contributed to it in any way in 25 years. It goes on without my participation and without my consent. I'm neither omnipotent nor impotent. I do what I can. Don't focus on how little you can do, for that will depress you and destroy your moral motivation. Focus on how much you can do! It makes me feel good to know that, for a quarter of a century, no turkey has suffered or died on my account. My hands, with regard to turkeys, are clean. If God turns out to be a turkey, I'm in good shape! Happy new year, everyone.

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