Every citizen knows the President—along with state Governors—have the right to grant pardons to citizens who have committed a crime. With one stroke of a pen, they can overturn convictions of people they think deserve a second chance. And those convicted persons can go free.
This pardon procedure apparently applies to dinner birds as well. Ever since George H.W. Bush in 1989, the U.S. President has given pardons to large turkeys just days before Thanksgiving, the holiday where Americans consume 45 million turkeys.
The story goes that this turkey pardoning actually started in the Lincoln administration when the President’s son begged his dad to let the holiday bird go, claiming it had as much right to live as anyone else. The kind Mr. Lincoln gave in, and the bird was spared.
However, do you know what happens to the birds whose lives are “spared” by the Leader of the Free World? You can read more about last year’s Presidential turkey pardon here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/20/presidential-turkey-pardon_n_2160129.html. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t turn out so well for the turkeys.
Have a good holiday, everyone. And remember not to gobble down your food at the Thanksgiving table!