by Sarah Berry
Considered the least favorite holiday of the year (for turkeys at least), for two turkeys the holiday is worth celebrating, thanks to a presidential pardon. Headed by the National Turkey Federation, two turkeys are selected for pardoning based on their appearance and temperament.
Afterwards, the birds reside on a farm for the remainder of the lives. Often though, the turkeys only live one to two years due to their breeding and care prior to being pardoned. For example, the diet of factory farm turkeys is designed to fatten them, which strains their organs and wears on their bone structure.
While organizations like PETA have voiced concern over these farming practices and White House ceremony, the National Turkey Federation has remained staunch in its support of the event.
Thus, President Obama will be pardoning the final two turkeys of his presidency this week, before the turkeys are moved to Virginia Tech where they will be chaperoned by a poultry immunologist from the college’s Agriculture and Life Sciences Department.
To learn more about the presidential turkey pardon, check out the links below:
- Gallery: Presidential Turkey Pardons
- White House Historical Society: History of Pardoning the Thanksgiving Turkey
- PETA: The White House Turkey Pardon
- 2016 Presidential Turkey Pardoning
- NPR: The Strange Truth Behind Presidential Turkey Pardons