Fall Guest Post Series: The Ethics of a Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Only two days until Thanksgiving! I am so excited! I have a lot of school work to do before then, so I figured today would be the perfect day for this thought-provoking post from my good friend, Jen.

I’d originally asked Jen to write a post on how to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving. When she e-mailed me the following post, I was a bit surprised that it wasn’t a recipe post, but I think it’s still relevant. Jen and I are both vegetarians, and when I first read her post I was a little upset. She’s a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and while that’s the same reason I’m a vegetarian, I also don’t like the thought of killing animals at all.

When Jen sent me her post, we discussed the possibility of not posting it on my blog. But I decided that it’s important to highlight opinions that are different from my own, and to respect them as well.

With that said, here is a very honest post about Jen’s idea of a vegetarian Thanksgiving.

Hey everyone! My name is Jen and blog over at Jen is Green. Let me thank Rebecca for giving me a chance to guest post on her blog!


It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner, and anyone who loves food as much as I do looks forward to this day every year!

But for me, Thanksgiving might be a bit different. I’m not eating meat anymore! Well, let me rephrase that. I’m not eating beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. I still eat seafood. So, this year, the Thanksgiving plan is to be turkey-free.

But will I be?

This is something I’ve been struggling with over the past few months since I’ve stopped eating turkey. I loved these foods. Sometimes I still crave chicken. But I gave them up after reading numerous books about vegetarianism, and I couldn’t live with knowing how horrible these animals are treated in factory farms. That is the number one reason I don’t eat them anymore.

But, if I knew that I was eating a bird that was living a happy life out on the farm, or a turkey living in the woods happily, I would feel a lot better about eating it. Needless to say, if I knew that every piece of meat I ate lived a happy life, I wouldn’t mind eating meat. My vegetarianism is 99% an ethical choice.

But since my small budget can’t afford to spend tons of money on local and farm raised meats at the farmer’s market, I’m happy not eating it at all.

Now, how does this all fit into my Thanksgiving? Family plays an important role in Thanksgiving. With that being said, my family members are also avid hunters. Every hunting season my dad gears up to sit in the woods for hours on end to try to shoot a bird or deer, minding its own business, for sport. Now, I have my own thoughts on this sport. I’ve grown up around hunting, and I’ve even gone out with my dad a few times when I was a young kid. My sister and I always got a little excited when we found out my dad got a deer on Thanksgiving morning.

However, now that I know what it truly involves, I’m a little less excited about it. But I know that’s what my dad likes to do, and it makes him happy, therefore I can accept it.

I also think the idea of eating a turkey that lived a happy life out in the wilderness, until my dad came along, is way more appealing to me than eating one from the shelves of the grocery store that was farmed in horrible conditions, never getting to see the light of day. So, I told my dad, that if he can get a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, that I will put my no meat eating aside for one day, and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with my family, which includes a turkey that grew up and lived in my back yard. How can you get more local than that? I will be happy knowing that the Thanksgiving turkey lived its life as it should have, as a turkey, instead of being confined to small cage in a dirty farm somewhere thousands of miles away. And I know how much that would mean to my dad, as my fate of my Thanksgiving dinner lies in his hands. I won’t know if I’m eating turkey until he comes back from one of his hunting trips with one, and I know I’ll be doing the right thing by eating it, since it goes along with my ethical standards when it comes to eating meat. And if he doesn’t get one, then I will enjoy Thanksgiving anyway, without the turkey!

Make sure to check back on my blog to find out what happens with my Thanksgiving dinner!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving dinner? And vegetarians: how do you prepare for your Thanksgiving meal? 

Happy Thanksgiving!

You may also like


  1. Wow! That’s admirable of you to post this, Rebecca. And you, Jen, I can read the struggle you must have encountered when writing your contribution.

    You two are truly incredible ladies and your honesty is refreshing.

    May the both of you have a truly wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. This is a great post!! I really like Jen’s take on things!

    I gave up meat strictly for ethical reasons too, and while I don’t CRAVE it like she does I think I would be comfortable eating a turkey if I KNEW it came from my backyard. I wish more people had this kind of attitude about eating meat. It would solve a lot of the factory farming problems..

  3. I think there would be a lot more vegetarians in this world if we all lived by the “if you can kill it, you can eat it” mantra. It’s also important to realize that many vegetables & grains are also not grown & harvested in the most ethical & environmental ways either, though too. Thanks for a thought-provoking post Jen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.