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Sat Nov 29 23:01:54 EST 2003
There is growing support for President Bush to honor the wild
turkey at Thanksgiving, instead of pardoning a domestic gobbler
By James A. Swan, Ph.D.
"In Defense of Hunting"
In October 2002, I proposed in this column that President Bush should stop
pardoning a domestic turkey on Thanksgiving and honor the holiday by
releasing a wild turkey.
The ceremony began in l947, when President Harry Truman of Missouri, where
today wild turkeys are more common than people, gave a "presidential pardon"
to a live turkey on Thanksgiving eve. Succeeding presidents have continued
the practice. President George W. Bush has pardoned a domestic turkey every
year he has been in office.
The ceremonial gobblers that appear every fall for the Rose Garden ceremony
are huge, flightless, obese domesticated birds donated by the National
Turkey Federation, an organization of turkey farmers.
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