People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked President Obama not to pardon turkeys this year, but since every turkey he pardoned has subsequently died, maybe it doesn’t really matter.
PETA’s senior vice president, Lisa Lange, explained the request in a video.
“Why?” she asked. “Because hosting this event lends his implicit endorsement to and provides free advertising for an industry that violently kills nearly 250 million animals every year and wreaks havoc on the environment and the health of Americans.”
Lange recommended a vegan Thanksgiving dinner this year.
But it turns out that all eight turkeys pardoned by Obama in past years have died, according to ABC News.
“We usually just find ‘em and they’re dead,” a turkey farmer told ABC’s John Stossel. The 2001 report said the birds are bred for eating, and by the time they’re pardoned, their days are numbered.
“Their flesh has grown so fast, and their heart and their bones and their other organs can’t catch up,” the farmer said.
Pardoning turkeys at Thanksgiving has been a tradition for years.
Turkeys have been part of the presidential holiday festivities since the Harry Truman days in 1947, according to Wikipedia. Dwight Eisenhower reportedly ate his turkeys at the White House, and John F. Kennedy was the first to return his to the farm. Ronald Reagan is said to be the first to grant a “pardon,” but George H.W. Bush was the first to make a “presidential pardon” an official part of the presentation.
For the record, turkeys pardoned by other presidents also had a short lifespan.
Watch the video from PETA: