President Obama laughs with his daughters, Sasha and Malia, as
he pardons Cobbler, this year's National Thanksgiving Turkey, in
the Rose Garden of the White House, Nov. 21.
Barack Obama Continues
American Tradition of Sparing Turkeys from Oven (Le Point, France)
year's birds from a farm in Virginia, both plump and white, were transported
under police escort to the W, where for two days they were treated with kid
gloves. And that's no figure of speech. The turkeys are housed in a suite with
views of the White House, are force-fed organic soy and cranberries while
gobbling in the rooftop panoramic bar waiting to be presented to Barack Obama
The W Hotel in Washington is a haven for celebrities. Its
luxurious rooms have hosted Elvis Presley, Harrison Ford and Congressional big shots,
not to mention Dominique Strauss-Kahn ... But since Monday, its historic ultra-chic
clients include high-profile turkeys - real birds - which, thanks to Barack
Obama, will not become part of a casserole. As happens every year for
president of the United States pardons a turkey at a very formal ceremony
with speeches and a benediction, sparing it from ignominiously being stuffed
with oysters and put into the oven like 46 million other of its fellows.
This year's birds from a farm in Virginia, both plump and
white, were transported under police escort to the W, where for two days they
were treated with kid gloves. And that's no figure of speech. The turkeys are
housed in a suite with views of the White House, are force-fed organic soy and
cranberries while gobbling in the rooftop panoramic bar waiting to be presented
to Barack Obama on Wednesday.
President Kennedy, just three days before his assassination,
decided to spare this turkey - but didn't officially pardon it.
To date, 22 birds have been pardoned. According to legend,
President Lincoln, the first to have engaged in the exercise, decided to spare
the life of a turkey to please his son, who was attached to the animal. In
1963, President Kennedy was presented with a turkey from a farm, and was quoted
as saying: "We'll just let this one grow." But it was George H.W. Bush who began the tradition of the "presidential
pardon" in 1989. The lucky winner was sent to a peaceful retreat in Virginia
called - one couldn't make this up - "Frying Pan Park"!
For a time, the pardoned turkeys were sent to Disneyland to
participate in its Thanksgiving Parade. Today, the birds end their days in comfort
at Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate near the capital. But that doesn't necessarily
prevent them from meeting a tragic fate ... Many of these plump animals suffer
from diseases related to obesity and die during the year after their reprieve.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
In 1989, President George H.W. Bush
formalized the custom
of pardoning a turkey, which is then permitted to live out the
rest of its natural life, in this case, in a place called Frying
Park in Virginia.
How does one select a turkey that will survive - or rather
turkeys, since there is always a pair chosen for fear that one of them will
fall ill before the big day and fail to fulfill its role? It's all about
behavior. The animal must be "imposing, calm, cool and
self-possessed," i.e.: "spread its plumage and strut a bit,"
explained Sherrie Rosenblatt of the National Turkey Federation last year.
For the bird to remain calm when confronted by the paparazzi
at the ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, it undergoes training for
several weeks, during which it becomes accustomed to camera flashes, noises
made by mobile phones and the crowd. The names of the birds to be pardoned in
2012, each weighing a whopping 18 pounds, are kept secret, and will not be revealed
until the ceremony. Last year's pardoned turkeys had the pleasant sounding
names of Peace and Freedom.