Giving Tuesday: For this week’s Anuvrat, I invite you to give back as well

By John Di Leonardo 

Last week, I wrote about how we were going to be distributing vegan Thanksgiving roasts to the community and how I hoped to rescue turkeys from live slaughter markets like we have in years past. We were successful in both these endeavors, giving out hundreds of vegan meals and also exchanging two vegan roasts for two live turkeys at a New York City live slaughter market.

These two sweet girls—named Karen and Davie in honor of our late friend Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns—may only be 3 months old, but they’ve already had ends of their toes and beaks severed and are suffering from staph infections; Karen had her snood ripped off and is suffering from open wounds along the entirety of her back—a victim of cannibalism due to the overcrowded and filthy conditions she was forced to grow up in; and Davie is still unable to walk. Despite all this, these sweet girls are still somehow the lucky ones. 46 million turkeys were killed in the US for Thanksgiving last week.

The next day is often no better. Known as Black Friday, this is a day of discounts and sales in the United States, but too often it is overshadowed by deaths and injuries of shoppers fighting over limited products. The website Black Friday Death Count tabulates 17 deaths and 125 injuries. Thankfully, there don’t appear to have been any deaths this year, but I’ll never forget one that happened at my local mall on Long Island in 2008. 2,000 shoppers trampled Jdimytai Damour, a 34-year-old security worker, to death as they stormed a Walmart store trying to buy limited quantities of flat-screen televisions. Jdimytai reportedly died when he tried to shield a pregnant woman from the mob. She miscarried.

Despite Thanksgiving and Black Friday celebrations often straying from the almsgiving celebrations they should be in recent years, Giving Tuesday is one holiday that Mahavira would still be proud of, and one I am grateful for. Touted as a “global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world,” Giving Tuesday follows Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the United States and is a day when people donate to charity. For example, this Giving Tuesday, an organization called Lady Freethinker generously gave back by helping to fund the care of the turkeys we just rescued.

For this week’s Anuvrat, I invite you to give back as well. If you ate the flesh of a turkey this Thanksgiving, consider donating toward the care of turkeys at my organization Humane Long Island or one of the sanctuaries where they will go once they recover: Freedom Farm Animal Rescue in New Jersey or J & J Farms Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. If you fought with someone over the last item on the shelf on Black Friday or bought more than you need, please consider donating to Community Solidarity, America’s largest vegetarian food share. Perhaps you might also consider donating to PETA India or Animal Rahat to help animals in India.

As Mahavira said, “Don’t accumulate if you do not need. The excess of wealth in your hands is for the society, and you are the trustee for the same.” 


John Di Leonardo is the founding director of Humane Long Island. He was previously the Senior Manager of Grassroots Campaigns and Animals in Entertainment Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). He has a Master’s degree in Anthrozoology from Canisius College. He also earned a graduate certificate in Jain Studies from the International School of Jain Studies (ISJS) in India. John can be reached at [email protected].  

Image courtesy of provided

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