As is traditional this time of year, our nation’s leader has pardoned a turkey in Washington DC. No, not Mark Foley. No, not Dennis Hastert. No, not Dick Cheney. No, not (boy, there are a lot of turkeys in Washington, aren’t there). No, our illustriously leader has spared Flyer and Fryer. These two turkeys were pardoned, and sentenced to live out the remainder of their lives in a park.
According to what I’ve read, the presentation of a live turkey dates back to the Lincoln administration. Lincoln made the last Thursday in November a national holiday in 1863, and that same year, Lincoln’s 10-year-old son Tad burst into a cabinet meeting to plead for the life of a turkey the President had been given for his Christmas dinner (the bird was spared). The current presentation ceremony dates to 1947, when the first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman. As for the pardon, however, that tradition dates only to 1989, when President George H. W. Bush added the show of clemency. The 2006 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate were from Monett, Mo., and were raised under the direction of National Turkey Federation Chairman Mike Briggs, according to the White House. Briggs delegated the day-to-day responsibilities to Lynn Nutt of Monett. One might think they have better things to do.
In any respect, we should be thankful for the news, which permits us to write articles about turkeys in Washington being sentenced to live in parks, with a completely straight face.
But it gets better. PETA is protesting the release of the turkeys, stating that although the chosen birds don’t become part of a holiday meal, they never see the next year’s Thanksgiving because they die in a few months. In past years the pardoned turkeys were sent to a petting zoo called Frying Pan Park. This year the White House said the turkeys will be sent by first-class jet to Disneyland, like last year.
I’m not going to comment on Frying Pan Park (see, the puns get better and better), but on the going to Disneyland. Yes, I can see the commercial now: “So, Flyer and Fryer, you’ve just been pardoned? Where are you going now? We’re going to Disneyland!” Just what we need in California… more turkeys!
Continuing with the article, PETA said that the turkeys have been drugged and artificially fattened so their bodies can’t handle more than 6 months of life. Knowing the health of most children in this country, I have one question for PETA: Why are you protesting the turkeys that have been drugged and artificially frattened, when you’re not fighting the food purveyors who are drugging and fattening up our children and adults? Where’s the priority? However, at least sending them to Disneyland might do some good, as Disneyland is improving the food at the park, requiring vendors to to have kids’ meals that include applesauce or carrot sticks as a side dish instead of French fries, and juice, low-fat milk or water instead of soda. The company aims to remove trans fats from Disney menu items by the end of 2007, and have outside vendors remove trans fats from menus by the end of 2008. So maybe those turkeys might just live longer.
As for the turkeys that remain in Washington, all we can hope is that they will be looking for new jobs come 2009, if the 2006 elections didn’t force a 2007 job hunt.