Animal Behavior

Today's Depressing Post-Thanksgiving Metaphor

The fate of the pardoned turkeys


Magnus Fiskejö describes what happens to the turkeys pardoned by the president and sent to a petting zoo:

Alt-text is a crutch, man.

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!

NEXT: Judges Split on Cell Phone Searches

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  1. Then they are buried nearby in a presidential turkey cemetery?the ritualistic significance of which remains to be explored

    Archaeologists will no doubt come up with a good explanation

    1. Stardate 4352.8

      – Today we discovered a ritual graveyard at the ancient capital city of Washington. The chief archaeologist speculates that as the ancient American Empire began to disintegrate, its priest-kings, known as “Presidents,” sacrificed small animals to the Gods. These animals were, in a bizarre ritual, “pardoned” of their crimes before being killed. This was apparently an act of religious allegory; the ancient Americans hoped that the Gods would similarly “pardon” them of their debts.

      1. “He’s dead, Jim…”

  2. They had the same amount of time as everything else to develop thumbs and stop tasting so delicious.

    They failed, and now it’s time to pay.

  3. They are creatures designed for the cage…

    Aren’t we all these days.

  4. Why don’t they just raise a wild turkey that will actually survive for this pagan ritual we have established?

    Currently reading “Roma” and noticed the parallels with Roman animal sacrifices. The ceremony itself is the opposite of the old blood sacrifices – the idea is the same – sacrifice or save an animal to gain the favor of a deity.

    1. Wild Turkeys will actually fight, if they’d in a pissy mood. Could you imagine Barry fleeing across the White House lawn, being chased by an irate turkey?

      1. “if they’d in a pissy mood” – if they’re in a pissy mood

        1. I should note that wild turkeys are allways in a pissy mode and not being bred for the cage – would go down in a hail of secret service gunfire.
          God bless them.

      2. If you put that on PPV, we’d eliminate the debt.

      3. Sounds like a win-win to me.

      4. “I really don’t know how to describe it. It was…like the turkeys mounted a counterattack! It was almost as if they were …organized!!”

  5. The whole thing doesn’t make any sense. Don’t you need to be convicted of a crime before you can be pardoned? And be a person?

    1. Drones would take care of this.

      Drones pardon NO one and NO thing.

      1. In Russia Drones Pardon YOU! WITH FIRE!!!

  6. Then they are buried nearby in a presidential turkey cemetery

    Why don’t they, y’know….EAT them instead of burying them? Or cook them for a homeless shelter or something? I’m more struck my the utter waste than the flimflammery of the thing.

    Oh, wait…government. Never mind.

    1. Probably because by then they’re grown and tough and nobody wants their meat. It would cost more to kill, clean, y pluck them than their meat would be worth. Turkeys are bred to be consumed in an immature state.

      It is my understanding that wild turkeys OTOH make pretty good game meat as adults, but they’re also cute and become tame hanging around people and there’s no reason to slaughter them, as opposed to one you’ve caught as a “stranger” bird. I see them sometimes in the vicinity of roads, trails and homes, and sometimes wonder whether they’re pets of the locals. Probably many of them are semi-pets in the same sense as squirrels who hang around as “regulars” waiting for nuts.

      Over a decade ago, “7 Second Delay” on WFMU the day before Thanksgiving tried to get someone, anyone, to adopt a farm raised turkey (Superfresh) as a pet. That would not have ended well had the attempt succeeded. Those things would not be suitable companions, but a wild turkey might be.

  7. I remember when a typical supermarket chicken breast was just about the right size for dinner. These days, those suckers are monstrous – I can’t imagine how they walk around with those things.

    1. Why do you hate big breasts?

      1. HEY! My eyes are up HERE!

  8. Clearly we need to expand medicare to cover turkey mobility scooters.

  9. Do you know who Goblox is?!?!?!?!

  10. Amber: They’re running men. Last season’s winners.
    Fireball: No. Last season’s losers.

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