On Wednesday, President Obama will spare the latest in a long line of lucky birds and deliver the annual White House turkey pardon, a Thanksgiving tradition celebrated since John F. Kennedy.
But what happens to those birds after their moment in the spotlight? They head just outside the capital for a plush life on the historic estate of a founding father.
The 2012 turkeys, Gobbler and Cobbler, are both from Virginia. The birds are being put up in the fancy “W” hotel before the ceremony and will retire at Mount Vernon.
President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The President will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.
But not everyone feels that the ceremony is a sentimental tradition. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the White House today, saying that the annual White House ceremony “makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds.”
PETA pointed out that it’s inaccurate to “pardon” turkeys since, “unlike the cruel polluters who raise them” turkeys haven’t committed any crime.
Incidentally,the turkeys were both born on Friday the 13th, so some might consider them unlucky regardless of the outcome.
The tradition, however, will continue. The White House has a vote in place, called “Thanksgiving Decision 2012: Cobbler or Gobbler?” that allows the American public to choose the National Thanksgiving Day Turkey.