The Fate of the Pardoned Turkeys

Freedom's just another word for...



As Barack Obama prepares to pardon the presidential turkey—CNN is counting down the hours as I type—it's a good day to read Magnus Fiskejö's account of what happens to the bird after it receives its freedom:

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.

So the purportedly free birds are actually incapable of self-sustained life. Thanksgiving rituals: not just a link to the American past, but a glimpse of the dystopian America to come!

Bonus link: What happens to the turkeys after they die? They're buried at Mount Vernon. Say…didja ever get the feeling that this isn't the real reality, and that we actually live in a heavy-handed metaphor?

(* A reader notes that Fiskejö has this wrong: The modern farm-bred turkey's debilitating size—so big that most cannot mate without human intervention—is now engineered without hormonal assistance.)