“Generally, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey, especially at a house with two dogs,” President Obama joked as he continued the annual tradition of pardoning the official White House Thanksgiving turkey at a windy and chilly ceremony in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, thanking Popcorn – the National Thanksgiving Turkey winner, chosen by voters on Facebook and Twitter – and Caramel, the runner-up, for their service.
Flanked by his daughters Malia and Sasha, he announced Popcorn as the winner of a competition – “quite literally, the ‘Hunger Games,'” as he described it – to be the lucky pardoned turkey. Popcorn’s victory proved “that a turkey with a funny name can have a future in politics,” Mr. Obama added, poking fun at the “skinny kid with a funny name” line he regularly used to describe himself during his 2008 run for the White House.
“As for Caramel, he is sticking around and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign,” he joked.
Following Wednesday’s pardon, the turkeys will live at George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon estate until January before moving to Morven Park’s Turkey Hill farm in Leesburg, Va. However, if recent history is any indication, their days are numbered.
Sadly, all but one of the turkeys pardoned by Mr. Obama during his presidency have lived to see a second Thanksgiving, National Journal reports.
The turkeys tend to only live a few more months post-pardon as the turkeys were bred for consumption. They’re usually beset with health problems related to obesity – most significantly, heart failure – which tends to do them in at a young age, according to a 2010 report for the Humane Society.
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