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OPINION

Please, no food fights this Thanksgiving

Will Coggin

As the weather cools and Thanksgiving draws near, millions of Americans are gearing up for the holiday, and looking forward to those things that make Thanksgiving such a special day: football, in-laws, and a relative going through a food “phase” or food politics “awakening” that he or she has to tell everyone about.

Who says, this year, that you can’t be prepared to push back?

It’s common to have someone at the table going through vegetarianism (no turkey) or veganism (no turkey or butter). Odds are in three months they’ll be over it. But for now, they’ll sound like a diehard PETA fanatic, hoping that your dark meat will come lathered in guilt, not gravy.

According to PETA, turkeys “relish having their feathers stroked and like to chirp, cluck, and gobble along to their favorite tunes” and “they dance when reunited with a person they recognize.” Who knew turkeys were so musically inclined?

It’s all part of a movement to give human characteristics to turkeys and other animals. To quote PETA’s founder, “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy” — or a turkey —meaning that people are morally equivalent to mice. Or mites.

In that line of thinking, not only should we give up turkey and gravy for Thanksgiving, but we should stop all medical research on animals, even if it leads to a cure for AIDS or cancer. We should ban zoos and aquariums. PETA has even spoken out against guide dogs and argued that some animals are better off dead than alive and in human care.

That’s not a philosophy for the two-legged or the four-legged to be thankful about. Animals should be treated humanely, but they aren’t people (even if the PETA wingnuts are figurative turkeys).

Another topic of conversation sure to ruin everyone’s appetite is genetically modified food. Many crops are genetically improved so that we can grow more of them — soy and cotton, for instance. And then there’s the pilgrim’s favorite, corn.

Unfortunately, this technology is opposed by environmentalists like Greenpeace and organic food advocates. To them, genetically modified foods are a scourge and need to be banned.

The issues in food politics could go on and on (How many ingredients? What are the food miles?). But the fact remains, we have food on the table.

If a nattering nephew or crowing cousin won’t stop ruining the table conversation, put it this way to them: If the pilgrims spent all their Thanksgiving bickering over whether food was organic enough or local enough, they would have starved to death.

Thankfully, for future generations’ sake, they didn’t.

Will Coggin is a senior research analyst at the Center for Consumer Freedom.