The Presidential Turkey Pardon 2005

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Federal Turkeys Wing It This Year

As I mentioned a few years ago, the whole presidential turkey pardon is a frustratingly annoying event. It’s meant to be this cutesy gesture, all “Hey, look, it’s so cute and funny! We’re pardoning turkeys from their death sentence! Tee-hee!” (Interestingly, as a blogger somewhere pointed out, it’s a gesture that the death row inmates in Texas rarely got…)

This year, after pressure from PETA, the turkeys won’t be going to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, VA. Many pardoned turkeys in recent years have died within a year. Frying Pan Park denies any wrongdoing and points to the unnatural weight these turkeys have to hold. I can’t say for sure whether the turkeys were treated well or not, but I know that we’ve got a number of would-have-been-Thanksgiving turkeys at Poplar Spring and all of them have lived long lives well beyond a year. This year’s birds will be flown first class to Disneyland.

Of course, this pardon doesn’t do much to bring to light the life and ultimate fate of 45 million other turkeys each Thanksgiving (that’s 15% of all turkey consumed each year in the United States). In honor of the millions of birds that wind up on Amercia’s table on the fourth Thursday of each November, some facts about turkeys and the conditions they’re raised in:

2 Responses to “The Presidential Turkey Pardon 2005”

  1. Shelly Burnett

    I’ve never understood the pardoning of the turkey thing. You KNOW they’re going to be eating a dead bird at the White House, so what’s with the big charade? Then again…when did government ever make sense?

  2. Gary

    Do you know what the turkeys will be doing at Disneyland? I’m curious if that fate is any better than Frying Pan Park, which I know is problematic. I heard some idiotic comment from the administration that the turkeys will have a blast presiding over a parade (yes, just what a turkey wants to do), but beyond that, I don’t know where they’ll end up.

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