Pursuant to Article II, § 2 of the U.S. Constitution: “The President shall … have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Somehow, we decided turkeys fall under this provision. However, the presidential turkey pardon violates another part of the Constitution, the Eighth Amendment, which forbids “cruel and unusual punishments.”
The turkey pardon is a slow and painful death sentence. Most turkeys live for only a few months after the ceremony, but some don’t even last a week. All of the turkeys Barack Obama pardoned in his first term died by his fifth pardoning ceremony. One was even euthanized.
Why is there such a quick mortality rate? Farmers feed their turkeys well beyond what their bodies can handle. “Their flesh has grown so fast, and their heart and their bones and their other organs can’t catch up,” said the farmer in charge of watching over pardoned turkeys. These turkeys are so obese, they can barely stand on their own accord
We cannot raise turkeys for months to be eaten, but right before the slaughterhouse, give them a reprieve/deny them the sweet benefit of death and pretend everything will be all right.
Pardoned turkeys don’t even get the benefit of living life as a stud. Domesticated turkeys cannot reproduce without human assistance. As for their looks, breeders chopped off their beaks long before the ceremony. (See featured image.)
Presidents would rather engage in a public relations stunt than confront the truth of this inhumane ritual. Bush 43 was unaware of what happened to the turkeys he pardoned. “This will not be their last Thanksgiving,” he told a group of blissfully ignorant school children.
Turkey pardons are a cruel trick on the the turkeys and the American public. It’s time for the White House to embrace an originalist interpretation of Article II, when the Constitution did not apply to turkeys, and end this charade.
Image via The Wire