President Trump recently did what hundred of presidents did before him: pardon a turkey, or more often a pair, during Thanksgiving. The turkeys, once pardoned make their way to Gobbler Rest where they are free to live out their days. Trump, showing a rather cavalier sense of humor, joked about how he was unable to reverse Obama’s decision to pardon Tator and Tot the previous year. Trying to remove Obamacare and revoke turkey pardons may not be exactly the same. Still, beyond that, we wanted to look at some other aspects of the turkey pardon. Just where do these turkeys come from?
The best source we found for the background of the gobbler pardoning ceremony was a 2013 article from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association posted on the AVMA website.
The story goes over the experience of veterinarian Bob Evans who, in 2013, was a key player in the turkey ceremony. While most people likely imagine a farm full of turkeys where a lucky turkey is simply plucked from the line to the slaughterhouse there is A LOT more planning that goes into the turkey.
The turkeys come from the National Turkey Federation and have been coming from the same location since the Truman years. The turkeys have an extensive team which includes groomers, veterinarians and a long list of other caretakers. Bob Evans is one of the few food industry veterinarians that spends hours grooming, bathing, and entertaining turkeys. Dr. Evans was the veterinarian in charge of overseeing the flock of roughly 40 birds raised specifically for the presidential pardon ceremony. The birds are chosen for their colors, which are not fully developed until early adulthood. Because the ceremony calls for a colorful and beautiful bird they can’t be sure they have the right one until the bird is older.
The birds are also exposed to loud music and frequent human interaction. The ceremony is a loud, boisterous event (as is any event with The Donald!) and most turkeys would just plain freak out if they weren’t prepared for the ceremony. Out of the 40 turkeys, the two with the most confidence and beauty are chosen to be pardoned. Only one turkey officially receives the pardon both turkeys are spared the fate of their feathered friends.
With a team of veterinarians, technicians, groomers and a long list of other caretakers, the 2013 turkeys ended up costing around $375 per pound. With each bird typically weighing around 40 lbs that means the turkeys cost around $15,000….each! That doesn’t account for all the turkeys that don’t make it to official ceremony.
For me, it sort of ruined the idea of one lucky turkey making it out of the slaughterhouse and into greener pastures. What do you think?
I love history and I often find that people who don’t read up on history miss out on many interesting things. Most people just know and retain the basic things they learned in school. There is so much more to know! I have gathered some weird and interesting facts to share with those of you who would like to know a bit more about the history of our country and its past presidents.
Thomas Jefferson had a thing for chairs. Jefferson vandalized Shakespeare’s chair and he is known to have invented the swivel chair. He wasn’t one for public speaking, but clearly he had a thing for chairs.
The smallest president was James Madison. He was just over 5 feet tall and only weighed about 100 pounds.
John Quincy Jones enjoyed skinny dipping. The president who hated Jefferson was well-known to enjoy skinny dipping. It was so well-known that a reporter used it to her advantage. She kept his clothes hostage until he agreed to give her an interview.
Martin van Buren was the first president born in the US. Van Buren most likely also had the most nicknames as president. His nicknames included ‘Sly Fox’, Little Magician’, and Red Fox of Kinderhook.
John Tyler was the most hated president. Tyler became president after William Henry Harrison died suddenly. The whole country hated him, his whole cabinet resigned because of his policies, and he was the first president who faced impeachment.
James K Polk was the least fun president. Polk banned alcohol, playing cards, and dancing from the White House. It must have been quite dull during his presidency.
Abraham Lincoln was a man with many talents. Lincoln is one of the most loved past presidents and had many talents. He was bartender, a good wrestler, and many women adored him.
Ulysses S grant ended the Klu Klux Klan. Grant isn’t that well-known to people from other countries, but he has one great thing to his name – he dismantled the KKK during his term in office.
The US presidents always keep things interesting. If not with the policies they change or scandals they cause, it is with their pets. Let’s take a look at a few:
Theodore Roosevelt had a pet badger. After a trip, Roosevelt returned home with a badger he called Josiah. He gave Josiah to his son as a pet and the two became great friends.
Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot. Jackson was a beloved president and known as the first president of the people. He had a pet parrot called Poll who enjoyed chatting. He had a tendency for foul language which he supposedly learned from Jackson.
Franklin D Roosevelt had a Scottish terrier. The beloved Scotty was called Fala and he was always at the president’s side. The two were so attached that the Secret Service called Fala ‘The Informer’ because people would know where the president was based on sightings of Fala.
The Bush’s Springer Spaniels. George W Bush had a Spaniel called Millie. She gave birth to a litter of puppies at the White House and Bush’s son adopted one and named her Spot Fetcher. Spot Fetcher returned many years later to take the place of her mom and become a first dog as well.
The Kennedy family had Pushinka. A white mixed breed dog was sent to President Kennedy by the Russians as a gift and a taunt. She was the pup of one of the first dogs to go to space and return safely. The president called her Pushinka.
Some other presidents had cats, hamsters, goats, and even sheep as pets. Many pets have lived in the White House and enjoyed the life of luxury. Some may seem strange, but it is good to have a president that loves animals.
Most of the US presidents had pets, most often dogs, while they lived at the White House. Some of the pets were strange, but regardless, pets have always been a part of the White House. Today, we look at a bit of history on some of the past presidents and we throw in a fact or two about the pets they owned.
Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States and also the main author of the Declaration of Independence. Some of Jefferson’s words at the end of his term made many people believe that it was not always a post he enjoyed. He had two bear cubs and mockingbird as pets. No dogs. Just bears.
Andrew Jackson was one of the first presidents who was surrounded by rumors and drama. He was the first president who was the subject of an attempted assassination. His term as president ran anything but smooth and he was partly responsible for sending America into the Depression. He owned a parrot, horses, and ponies.
William Henry Harrison
One of the lesser known presidents was William Henry Harrison. He spent a mere 30 days in office before he died of enteric fever. He had a goat, but also no dog.
After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson took his place. He became president in the time during which slavery was still a huge issue and no resolution had been reached. It was quite a tumultuous time in America and after the Radical Republicans passed laws to restrict the office of the president, Johnson missed being impeached by one vote. He also owned no pets.
Many more presidents who had dramatic and disastrous terms in office or who had dealt with an overload of problems since they stepped into the position did not own pets. It could be said that the presidents who owned dogs, or at least some pets, had better terms in office than those who did not. Coincidence? I think not!