I’m writing this a few days before Thanksgiving and you’ll be reading it (I hope) a few days after my favorite holiday. The timing could be better but issue dates are issue dates.

To the point. I recently received a news release via email encouraging me to encourage readers to partake in a “gentle Thanksgiving,” that is one without a turkey gracing the table. Sorry, but that seems un-American to me. Even worse, it seems unappetizing.

The article did suggest tasty alternatives. I quote from the release: “The vegan bill of fare may include a ‘tofurky,’ lentil or nut roast, stuffed squash, corn chowder or chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or pecan pie, and carrot cake. Sound good?”

Not really. Okay, I’ll be happy to munch on some candied yams, cranberry sauce and most any kind of fruit pie or cake you can name. But I’m drawing the line at tofurky. I apologize if the soybean industry is offended, but I’ve eaten soy based products before and I admit there is a place for them in our grocery shelves and on our dining tables, but they can’t compete with a nice, tender, juicy slice of turkey breast.

I’ve eaten lentils before, too. Once. Enough said about that. Chestnut soup? Never heard of it. Not interested.

This promotion is sponsored by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement), a vegan organization that would eliminate all meat from our diets, not just turkey at Thanksgiving, but every day. I appreciate and support anyone’s right to choose how they go about nourishing their own bodies. I also appreciate vegetables. Butter beans are my favorite. I like nuts. I like berries. I like most fruits. I also really like a good steak, a tasty pork loin, fried chicken and a perfectly baked turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I could eat turkey more often, but that might make it a little less special on holidays.

FARM offers 10 reasons why we should not eat turkey, or lamb, or beef or even fish (perish the thought), some of which offer some health advice like avoiding saturated fats and cholesterol. Not bad advice but I’ll take the “eat in moderation most of the time (Thanksgiving may be an exception)” approach and not overindulge on a regular basis.

Their other reasons are, well, pretty lame. For instance, “your kids can tell their friends about their cool tofurky,” offers little to their argument except silliness. As does the one suggesting that eating vegan will keep you from falling “asleep during the football game.” If the Lions are playing we’ll be asleep regardless.

Another gem: “You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.” I’m totally responsible for my own guilt. I can live with the repercussions of eating a turkey.

And this one, an alarmist appeal: “You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.” A bit of hyperbole, I believe.

And my favorite: “You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.”

I can’t recall ever spending a sleepless Thanksgiving night worrying about a turkey. I’ve worried about a lot of things that, in retrospect, were not worth losing sleep over, but the life and times of a turkey has never been one of them.

I also would like to go on record in support of humane treatment of animals. Animal cruelty, wanton abuse of animals and neglect are reprehensible and should not be tolerated. Farmers and ranchers I know share that sentiment.

So, in spite of the dire warnings and the attempt, feeble thought it be, to make me feel guilty about eating turkey, beef, pork, fish and other meats I expect to have in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner — well, no tofurky for me. I’m eating a bird.

email: rsmith@farmpress.com