Tofu or not tofu - that is the question, for some

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

A Juneau woman is among the winners of a nationwide Thanksgiving Day essay contest by a well-known animal-rights group.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals awarded Jan M. Gordon of Juneau and 19 others, out of more than 1,200 contestants, a turkeyless dinner this holiday.

The group believes animals should not be used for food, clothing, entertainment or experimentation. It promotes vegetarian Thanksgiving meals such as "tofurkeys."

Gordon, an Alaska consultant to the Humane Society of the United States, alluded in her brief essay to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and said that now is the time "for as much compassion as we can show."

Gordon wrote that a friend told her their efforts to start an animal shelter in Haines seemed minuscule in light of current events. But Gordon said it was even more important now.

"We need to do all we can to make the world as compassionate as possible," Gordon wrote. "I say to the person who has been thinking of becoming a vegetarian or vegan, now is the time, the time for as much compassion as we can show. Now more than ever our furry friends need our help."

Vegans do not eat eggs and dairy products, as well as meat.

Gordon, in an interview, said she doesn't oppose raising and slaughtering animals humanely. She doesn't oppose hunting and she eats fish herself. But Gordon said she has seen large-scale "factory farms" of turkeys, on videotape and in person.

"I have seen some of the ways these animals in mass production are killed and it's quite brutal," she said.

Eric Fry can be reached at

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