I never thought that a turkey farm would have such a profound effect on my life.
We moved to Seekonk, MA almost ten years ago and happen to have a turkey farm right around the corner from our home. We pass it several times a day. I recall a conversation with our neighbors about the farm when we first moved to the neighborhood. Their youngest daughter explained that the baby turkeys arrive in late summer and are so cute. Then, she explained with a bit of horror in her voice, “A big truck comes one day and they all disappear!”.
Her telling of the turkey’s short stay was very accurate. Each year it was fun to see the baby turkeys one day magically appear in their pen and then watch as they grew up and became rambunctious. They would chase each other around the pen. Some would make their way onto the roof of their house. It is always fun to watch their adventures.
Shortly before Thanksgiving 2015 I was driving by and it was ‘that time of year’. The “big trucks” had backed up and the temporary workers were all there. I saw a lady in the middle of the pen reach down and yank a turkey up by it’s neck and tuck it under her arm and walk away. It did something to me. It changed the way I look at animals and my dietary choices. It was at that moment that I stopped eating meat.
However, that is not causing me to write this blog. It is an experience that I had this week.
The turkeys are back and they are grown and starting to cause ruckus.
As I was driving to the gym the other day, I noticed one turkey had escaped the pen and was free to run into the woods. Instead of running towards his freedom, he was pressed against the fence trying to get back into the pen. That is where the food and water are, along with all his friends. Ironically, that pen represented LIFE to him. Outside that pen was unknown and scary. He knew nothing about it and so stuck to what he knew. He was getting fed and life seemed good. He was comfortable in the pen.
My brain immediately made the comparison to when I was an employee. We are taught from an early age to get a good education and then find a good job. I don’t recall being taught anything about happiness, values, time freedom, dreams, etc. Like the turkey, I felt safe in my pen. We collect a regular paycheck and consider ourselves lucky to have the job. I felt that working for someone else was the safe thing to do. I worked really hard and made the owners happy and rich. I was helping them achieve their dreams. Everything seemed fine until one day when the company made some decisions that dramatically affected me. How they were made and communicated to me was what finally woke me up to the fact that I needed to get out. I realized that I had zero say and control. I was a pawn for them to move freely across the board. I no longer enjoyed being in the pen and wanted out. So I started my own business that I was able to work at in the evening and on weekends. I sacrificed a lot of personal time with friends and family, but after just two years I was able to replace my income and walk outside the pen without any fears or conditioned responses to run back in and be happy for what I had.
I am beyond thankful for that decision. It has completely changed my life. And I now get to help others free themselves from the pen. As far as the turkeys, I will continue to be a vegetarian and encourage others to do the same. I’ll also be thankful to them for all the lessons that they seem to be teaching me. There is an amazing life outside of the pen. If you are starting to feel the pen closing in on you, please reach out and let’s chat. I can help you free yourself from the ties that bind.