A Thanksgiving Prayer for the Animals

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and I’m cooking up a storm. There will be nine of us tomorrow around the table plus another couple coming for dessert. I’m also answering email and reading the numerous holiday messages that are rolling in to the various email lists to which I subscribe. It’s depressing.

Most of the emails are about plans for tomorrow’s dinner, about who is cooking the turkey and how. Not a hint of any twinge of misgiving about feasting on an animal who lived a miserable life and died a horrible death for the family holiday. All are cheerfully ignorant of what it means to kill these animals–and I suspect in many cases, the “not knowing” is by choice. It makes me feel just a little hopeless.

Even though this is the holiday of thanks, I always feel inclined to make grace a prayer of supplication–for blessings for the animals and for the hearts of their abusers to be touched with mercy. This prayer was written by English novelist John Galsworthy (he wrote The Forsyte Saga). I found it in the book Love the Animals: Meditations and Prayers, edited by the Reverend Andrew Linzey and Tom Regan. I’ve changed it just a tiny bit to make it a little more ecumenical. We read it at Thanksgiving last year and I think we’ll read it again tomorrow.

To all the humble beasts there be,
To all the birds on land and sea,
Great Spirit sweet protection give,
That free and happy they may live.

And to our hearts the rapture bring
Of love for every living thing;
Make of us all one kin, and bless
Our ways with Your own gentleness.

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4 Responses to A Thanksgiving Prayer for the Animals

  1. diaghilev November 26, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    I have told all of my friends and family of the horrors inherent in the slaughter industry. They do not care. So thinking that we need to educate people so they will change is a myth. It is very rare that anyone will change upon hearing of the plight of non humans. Those are the ones that give me hope.
    I no longer celebrate Thankskilling any more than I would celebrate Hiroshima day and usually spend the day at a protest.

  2. Maysoon November 26, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    What a lovely prayer. Thank you for posting it. There does seem to be more in the media about alternatives to the turkey at Thanksgiving (and about plant-based diets in general) so I am encouraged by that. But it is still hard to see otherwise compassionate and thoughtful people I know still continuing this cruel tradition. Not to mention Obama's "joke" while "pardoning" the turkey. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Ginny – this is my first post but I have been reading your blog since I discovered it a few months ago.

  3. Rhea Parsons Riker November 26, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    What a beautiful prayer. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. foodfitnessfreshair November 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    I love the prayer! What a great tradition.

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