A big story this Thanksgiving is the invasion of the political into every nook and cranny of American family life. National organizations promoting healthcare reform and gun control have distributed talking points to their supporters to make the potentially enjoyable mealtime conversation more contentious and political. In turning Turkey Day into Politics Day, these groups are actually taking their tactical cues from food activists like the vegan animal liberation groups People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and their anti-food ilk.
The distasteful and desperate move of politicizing of the holidays doesn’t mean that the anti-food crowd has given up, of course. On the contrary, new activists are joining in the dinner-spoiling “fun” and the usual suspects are up to their old tricks. Here’s a list of the food activists trying to turn Thanksgiving conversation into propaganda lessons.
- PETA’s still up to its old child-propaganda tricks. As our Senior Research Analyst wrote in suburban Philadelphia’s Bucks County Courier-Times, “PETA has a bus shelter ad in Providence, RI depicting a mom cutting up a bloody, live turkey in front of her horrified children. The ad is aimed at kids — due to an optical trick, it looks like a normal turkey-carving when viewed at an adult’s eye level, but gruesome when viewed by a young child.”
- PETA petitioned the White House to hold a vegan Thanksgiving. At CCF we’d say, “Let the President eat his turkey drumstick (or breast, if he likes white instead of dark meat).”
- HSUS, which gives only one percent of its budget to local groups to support pet sheltering efforts, is writing in newspapers calling for people to adopt a PETA-approved fake-“meat”-only Thanksgiving spread. This article is signed by a former PETA campaigner, who sought rights for sea bugs (a.k.a. lobsters).
- Animal liberationists allied with a key funder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a PETA-like animal liberation group that is only 10 percent physicians, placed a Thanksgiving-themed PETA-style “Thanksgiving is Murder” billboard near Orlando.
- Organic activists such as the Non-GMO Project are promoting efforts to avoid foods produced using genetically improved crops, despite a complete lack of scientific evidence that such avoidance is necessary. They are probably still sore about losing an effort in Washington State to require “warning labels” on these foods which the American Medical Association has found unnecessary to promote health.
Whether the activists trying to invade your Thanksgiving dinner are national politicians or evangelical vegetarians, the holiday should be a time for reflection and thanks-giving, not political harangues. Our advice is pass the potatoes instead of the politics, whatever they happen to be.