Changing Hearts and Minds

A guest post by Val Giguere

changing-hearts-and-mindsIt was around 23 years ago that I decided to become vegan while reading Diet for a New America by John Robbins. The book impacted me on many levels, but at the forefront was what was happening to animals as a result of the food choices we make. There was no trial period or slow transition, etc. – I just stopped eating animals or anything that comes from them immediately. It was as if my heart and mind just “woke up”.

It wasn’t until many years later that I got involved with a sanctuary that I really had the opportunity and privilege to spend lots of time with the sweetest farm animals, including some incredible turkeys. I love them all, and they all had their own amazing personalities. At the same time, I became familiar with the 46 Million Turkeys Project and had the opportunity to participate in an event honoring these wonderful birds.

As we close in on Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the sweet turkeys I came to know at the sanctuary, spending my weekends with them and spending this holiday with them over the last couple of years.

changing-hearts-and-minds-2The rescue of two baby sisters particularly sticks out in my mind as I picked them up and brought them to the sanctuary. They were so tiny and beautiful fitting in a small carry crate together. They had already been through so much and for some luck were about to know a life of love and kindness, one that is not the life of billions of farm animals. They grew up and enjoyed life with the other turkeys and farm animal friends at the sanctuary.

While cleaning barns, the turkeys could be found following us from barn to barn and hanging out while we cleaned, overseeing our work. They usually sat in the pathway of the wheel barrow on the way to the compost pile inviting scratches and kisses and some sweet talk. They were very smart and knew that none of us would pass up the chance to have a compassionate conversation with them.

changing-hearts-and-minds-3Being around the turkeys – listening to them purr on my lap – always brought an overwhelming feeling of peacefulness. It was easy for me to see that these turkeys, along with their farm animals friends were the change makers – they invited a change in thinking that only they had the power to do.

Popcorn, Bernadette, Fiona, Coretta, Rosa, Athena, Ruby, Irene and Napoleon, it has been my honor and privilege to know you, love you and to care for you. I am grateful that all of you were given the chance to know kindness.

I am thankful for the 46 Million Turkeys Project for bringing attention to each turkey as an individual and for creating a platform for all of us to share how much we love these sweet gentle birds in an effort to help others get to know them too. My heart will be with the millions who will lose their lives on a day that is geared towards being thankful…

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