Today is a big day for one lucky turkey -- President Obama will pardon him from being someone's Thanksgiving meal. The fortunate fowl will be taken to a lovely sanctuary where it will roam the rest of its days instead of being served next to some stuffing as part of the historic Presidential Turkey Pardon.
This year, there are two contending birds vying to be spared -- Cobbler and Gobbler. Yes, they have names, and, even more bizarrely, they're currently living it up in luxury at the posh W hotel in D.C. The two have been vying for votes online, and today at 2 p.m., the president will announce which bird wins. You can watch the whole thing go down at 2 p.m. Eastern time here.
Don't worry though; the loser doesn't have it too bad. He won't get the title of National Turkey, but he won't be eaten either. Both will actually be taken to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to chill.
It's a rather funny tradition and sort of a strange way for the President to spend his time, but, according to the White House, it's a tradition that dates back to 1963 when John Kennedy pardoned the first turkey at the White House. And it's all in fun.
Guess whose feathers are all ruffled about it though? PETA. You'd think they'd be happy to see animals' lives being spared, but that's not the way they see it. In fact, they're so pissed that they're equating the pardoning of turkeys with discrimination against minorities.
Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, wrote in a letter to President Obama:
It makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds and portrays the United States’ president as being in some sort of business partnership with the turkey-killing industry. Turkeys do not need to be ‘pardoned’—they are not guilty of anything other than being born into a world of prejudice. They are innocents who should be respected for who they are: good mothers, smart birds, and interesting animals.
You understand so well that African-Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community have been poorly served throughout history, and now I am asking you to consider other living beings who are ridiculed, belittled, and treated as if their sentience, feelings, and very natures count for nothing.
Um, wow. I have total respect and admiration for vegetarians, and I get the whole meat-is-murder thing, though I love meat so I'm okay with the crime. But this is crazy. It's PETA we're talking about, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Still, wow.
There's no indication from the White House that they're going to cancel the turkey pardon. So tune if you're so inclined, or go check your tofurkey if not.
What do you think of the Presidential Turkey Ban?
Image via whitehouse.gov