As is the truly inane custom, President Trump “pardoned” a Thanksgiving turkey at the White House today in an annual gesture of hollow goodwill meant to humanize our malevolent leader ahead of the eating holiday.
But what if I told you that those turkeys—the official turkey, Peas, and his alternate, dubbed Carrots, both of whom hailed from North Dakota—are not long for this world? (And also that, by logical extension, both you and I will leave this earthly realm sooner or later?)
As Politico reported this afternoon, because Peas and Carrots were bred for consumption—as we all are in a great cosmic sense, if you think about it—their retirement will be rather short:
...they’ve been bred to be plump and tasty, but they grow so big that they are likely to suffer from a variety of health problems that put their lifespan at less than a year. Wild turkeys generally live three to five years.
Take, for example, other previous, adorably named National Thanksgiving Turkeys and their alternates — “Wishbone” and “Drumstick,” “Tater” and “Tot,” “Abe” and “Honest.” Most lived for just a few months after being pardoned. Only Tater, pardoned by former President Barack Obama in 2016, “exceeded all expectations” by living for two whole years, said Rami Dalloul, who helps care for post-pardon turkeys at Virginia Tech.
Longevity encouraged by Obama’s saving hand? Could be.
The story also quotes animal rights experts detailing how bad this is for the birds we eat exactly once a year:
Commercially bred turkeys are so large that their skeletons can’t handle the extra weight, which renders them flightless. They also suffer from joint problems and can’t reproduce naturally.
Huge bummer! My proposal: Do away with Thanksgiving turkey, since everyone only pretends to like this flavorless, dry bird. It’s not worth the hassle or cruelty!