Magnus Fiskejö describes what happens to the turkeys pardoned by the president and sent to a petting zoo:
The birds are then, in proverbial fashion, said to live happily ever after. In reality, however, they are usually killed within a year and stand-in turkeys are supplied. This goes on year after year. The chosen birds are killed because they have been engineered and packed with hormones to the point that they are unfit for any other purpose than their own slaughter and consumption....The sturdiest survivors may live a little more than a year. But the birds are always finally put out of their growing misery. Then they are buried nearby in a presidential turkey cemetery—the ritualistic significance of which remains to be explored.
Via Jason Read, who adds: "They are creatures designed for the cage, and no decree can change that. Yep, the holiday really symbolizes the nation." And I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving too!