Being curmudgeonly at Thanksgiving 2020

Americans deserve a bit of fun. We all do. It’s a time for optimism and looking to the future. I would hope that Americans will be able to live a fairly normal life by next summer or perhaps even just after Easter thanks to their coronavirus vaccination programme. At Thanksgiving 2020 it’s a time to be thankful for what they have; that they’ve survived this damnable pandemic. You don’t want anything catastrophic to happen at Thanksgiving 2020, but taking a curmudgeonly viewpoint of that joyous time it is the most dangerous holiday in America!

Cook the turkey not the home

There are more car accidents, more house fires and more food poisoning than normal. It’s a holiday where things can go wrong. There’s an amusing tweet from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission which starts, “Cook the turkey, not your home this Thanksgiving”. It is a time when you can get burnt cooking the turkey in a turkey fryer or set fire to the home.

Road accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, Thanksgiving is the most deadly of holidays with respect to traffic accidents. Four hundred are killed and almost 50,000 injured during this period and 53% of the accidents are caused because people are not wearing seat belts. And of course alcohol is going to be a killer while driving; between 2012 and 2016 more than 800 people died over Thanksgiving because of alcohol.

Cat looking like a cooked turkey
Cat turkey impression. A bit macabre perhaps which highlights something about the treatment of turkeys I’d say. Photo in public domain on Cheeseburger.
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Cats and dogs

Undercooked turkey can kill people partly because sometimes stuffing is cooked inside the bird and this can be dangerous. Raw juices inside the bird containing bacteria are absorbed by the stuffing in the turkey’s cavity. The stuffing cooks more slowly and therefore the bacteria is not killed.

Thanksgiving can be dangerous for companion dogs and cats too. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) advise that cats and dogs should not be fed traditional Thanksgiving foods. I think you’ll find that most veterinarians will see one or two dogs or cats coming in to their surgery for something that went wrong during this holiday.

They say that companion animal guardians should be aware of turkey skin which can be difficult to digest for cats and dogs and which can lead to nausea, stomach upset and diarrhoea. Some foods are poisonous to pets namely garlic, raisins, dark chocolate, onions and grapes.

Turkey bones, I think, are going to be a source of danger because they can cause intestinal blockage and puncture organs. Bones can splinter inside the mouth digestive tract or oesophagus. Common sense says that this might happen so you’ve got to be careful but I think it’s difficult to be careful. You want to let loose a little bit, have a drink or two and you want your companion animal to enjoy the fun as well which opens the door to danger.

I know I’m being catastrophically curmudgeonly, which for Thanksgiving 2020, in particular, is unsuitable, but cat and dog welfare should be a consideration. Enjoy Thanksgiving.

Postscript: the outgoing President Trump pardoned Corn (from the duo Corn and Cob) the turkey at his White House ceremony but it was mentioned that 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving. I don’t particularly like turkey. I didn’t like the fact that 46 million of them are killed either. Just another curmudgeonly thought.

PETA have a page on turkeys. They are gentle, intelligent birds which can run 35 miles an hour and live for 10 years. The backstory on turkeys is not great. They spend their short lives at factory farms packed into dark sheds with 3 1/2 ft² of space per bird. They are forced to grow as fast as possible and sometimes become crippled under their own weight. Sometimes, hopefully rarely, workers at turkey farms abuse the animals, sometimes horrendously. It doesn’t bear reading about really as it’s so horrible. The only time turkeys feel the sun on their backs is when they are shoved onto trucks destined for the abattoir where they are hung upside down and their heads dragged through an electrified stunning tank. I won’t go on.

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