Each November, the sitting president bestows a pardon on a turkey or turkeys to a crowd at the White House, sparing it from the dinner table and giving it a chance at a life of freedom. This longstanding tradition is a lighthearted event that symbolizes the spirit of Thanksgiving. President Joe Biden, on his 81st birthday, continued this tradition by pardoning two turkeys named Liberty and Bell, ensuring that they will spend the rest of their days in peace.
Presidential turkey pardons have a rich history. The tradition can be traced back to President Abraham Lincoln, who was known for his compassion towards animals. However, it was President George H. W. Bush who formalized the turkey pardoning ceremony in 1989, making it an official White House tradition. Since then, each president has carried on the practice, granting a reprieve to these fortunate fowls.
So, what happens to the turkeys after they receive a presidential pardon? Historically, the pardoned turkeys have been sent to various locations. It is said that some of them have been sent to farms or petting zoos, while others have been cared for by members of the public. The specific destination for Liberty and Bell, as well as previous pardoned turkeys, is not publicly disclosed.