Presidents have been pardoning turkeys ever since the Truman administration in 1947, but it wasn’t technically an official tradition until 1989, when President George H.W. Bush made it a permanent staple in the United State’s Thanksgiving tradition. Legend has it that this tradition dates all the way back to the Lincoln administration, when one of his sons asked him to spare the family’s Thanksgiving turkey instead of killing it for dinner.
Despite the fact that each President pardons one or two turkeys each Thanksgiving, these turkeys seem to still have a less-than-stellar lifespan. Most Presidential turkeys, like many other factory-farmed animals, are bred to be eaten. By the time the turkey pardoning date rolls around, their days are numbered.
Out of all the Presidential pardons, the Obama turkey pardon tends to have the worst luck. His pardoned turkeys rarely live longer than a year, and their deaths tend to be worse than any of the previous turkeys. We’re sure he’s not killing these turkeys on purpose, but his reputation still lingers in the holiday fowl community. The ill-fated turkeys on this list may have received a Presidential pardon, but they were still cut down in the prime of their lives. Vote up the most ill-fated pardoned turkeys below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
Cobbler Was Pardoned in 2012, Only to Be Euthanized in 2013
Biscuits Was Pardoned in 2004, But Death Was Already on the Way
Popcorn Was Pardoned in 2013, But Died of Heatstroke in Summer 2014
Stars Was Pardoned in 2003, and Died the Day After He Arrived at His New Home
Gobbler Was Pardoned in 2012, But Died Suddenly in 2013
Peace Was Pardoned in 2011, But Died of a Mysterious Illness in 2012
Following a week long mysterious illness in 2012, Peace was put out of her misery at the Mount Vernon Estate.
Cider Was Pardoned in 2010, But Developed a Respiratory Infection Soon After and Died
After being pardoned, Cider the turkey developed a respiratory infection, and then a foot disorder that made it hard for him to walk. Cider had to be put down before he was able to see next year’s Thanksgivng. His buddy Apple succumbed to the same fate shortly afterwards.