As the jolly season approaches, we are all looking for turkey-free recipes to impress our guests with this holiday season, or frantically sharing articles, listing good reasons why everyone must skip the turkey on their table.

And while I, as a vegan, can’t help, but feel deeply grateful every year for the fact that I was lucky enough to have my eyes opened early in my twenties and see where my turkey actually comes from, it was until recently I became conscious of the fact we have so much more to be thankful for.

This realization came to me, as I joined my long-term partner and friend Denitsa on a quest to save millions of animals,

while sparking a ‘revolution’ in a community, which is desperate for our help.

In the weeks and months before Christmas, at the time we use the Thanksgiving celebrations to bond with friends and family, and our biggest hurdle will possibly be our granny, not understanding why turkey isn’t ‘vegan’, families in Bulgaria (a strategically positioned country in Eastern Europe), get ready for the holiday season by executing ritual pig slaughters in their country houses.

One Unexpected Blessing US Vegans Can Be Grateful For This Thanksgiving!

Following a hundred-year-old-tradition, millions of piggies fill the air with their screams, as they are brutally pulled out of their ‘houses’, tied, and killed in the most inhumane way possible, while children hear or watch in order to learn how it is ‘done’.

Killing a pig pre-Christmas is a matter of celebration and social status,

while most people consider it inappropriate not to have ‘fresh pork’ on their table on Christmas eve. These ritual slaughters are commonplace, on top of a rising meat consumption. No one has ever told them otherwise, and while just an hour and a half flight away from Bulgaria, in Belgium, citizens are urged to put meat at the very bottom of their food priorities, the informational block in the country has left the Bulgarian population hundreds of years behind in their perceptions of health, nutrition, and animal treatment.

And here it comes

Whether we realize it or not, US vegans should feel deeply grateful and privileged for the right to choose! Despite the fact that many choose not to learn the truth, at least we have a choice! Information is readily available and widespread. Vegan options are on the rise, and even if you never considered cutting meat off your plate, it would be hard not to come across headlines about vegan burgers that bleed, dairy-free Ben and Jerry’s, Mc Donald’s testing a vegan option, and Esther the wonder pig, whose dads quit their full-time jobs to open a sanctuary.

We are so lucky our kids are not exposed to the cruelty and violence Bulgarian children have to observe and eventually process as ‘normal’.

The issue here is NOT that someone denies to see where meat comes from. They know very well, and they perceive the violence as a regular part of daily life! In case you are wondering, the majority of population is Christian, and they have incorporated the ritual slaughters as part of their ‘Christian’ traditions.

Sadly, ritual slaughters like these are not only common pre-Christmas time, but all year round. After the pigs, it comes the lambs’ turn. Lambs are killed in the same way for all types of occasions, including child births, Christenings, business openings ‘for health’, ‘good luck’, etc.

This counts to millions of animals every year!

Taking action to stop this will not only save these animals’ lives, it will have an enormous socio-economic ripple effect. Eradicating a cruel tradition means changing the course of history, and adopting a new approach to raising future generations. The violence and inhumane behaviors children get used to have a deep psychological effect and put a mark on their behavior as adults.

I know and believe very little is needed to ignite the spark of change, since currently, very little is actually being done in this direction.

I have joined forces with my long-term partner and friend, a dedicated animal advocate, and we have constructed a long-term three-phase plan to start saving these animals by instilling deep, permanent change in society!

We have launched a Crowdfunding Campaign for the establishment a One-Of-A-Kind Cruelty-Free Center that will target the problem at its very root! Various recent examples with Denitsa’s local network have given proof that very little is needed for people to re-consider their behaviors! Her dad gave up the killing of two lambs for the opening of his car repairing service; another friend gave up meat just after a few interactions with her, and many others are willing to re-consider after receiving a tiny bit of education!

The issue is that NONE of this education is currently existent!

The New Life Cruelty-Free Food And Educational center we aim to establish will pro-actively instill change into the population through the provision of free lectures, seminars, workshops, printed materials, as well as an affordable vegan café and plant-based meal delivery service.

This civil, peaceful, education-driven approach will be directed towards young families and mothers, who are the main decision-makers regarding meat consumption and ritual slaughters.

We strongly believe that anyone, who has a drop of compassion in their heart would want to contribute to a project such as that.

Our slogan is

 

Supporting our campaign also means getting exclusive access to some of the amazing gifts we have put together especially for our backers, like the Shining Hearts Vegan Board Game! It’s a fun, strategic game including 72 cards with beautiful images that ignites the love for animals and helps spread compassion among family and friends without being preachy or negative.

Contributing to such a cause will most definitely be one way of saying ‘Thanks’ for how privileged we actually are!

Yours,

Ashton