independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Conspiracy theorists aflutter as Turkey pardoned by Obama is 'euthanised' days before Thanksgiving

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, right, carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. After the ceremony, "Cobbler" will head to George Washington's historic home in Virginia to be part of the "Christmas at Mount Vernon" exhibition. National Turkey Federation Chairman Steve Willardsen is at left. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

THE timing is curious, but not suspicious say those responsible, but the decision taken to put down a 45-pound turkey pardoned by President Obama last Thanksgiving, has already got the conspiracy theorists all aflutter.

The bird, named Peace, had served as an understudy for Liberty, another turkey at the 2011 Thanksgiving pardoning ceremony.

Mr Obama had chosen to pardon both the turkeys to save them from becoming dinner, however, on Monday a veterinarian took the decision to put down peace following a mysterious weekend-long illness.

Both of the birds had been shipped off to the Mount Vernon Estate to live out their days in comfort, but in a cruel twist of fate Peace has now been 'euthanised'.

The closeness of the bird's death to Thanksgiving has prompted some observers to suggest Peace may have ended up on a plate.

Rebbecca Aloisi, vice president for marketing at the Mount Vernon Estate, however, said that turkeys have short lifespans, especially those bred for eating.

She insisted the timing of Peace's death - three days before Thanksgiving – was curious, but not suspicious.

She was also unable to shed any light on whether the bird's remains were eaten.

‘I know that it was done in a humane manner but I don't know the mechanics,’ she said.

‘I appreciate where you're going with this, but I assure you that these birds are extremely well cared for.’

The facility, which is well-known for being the historic home of President George Washington - includes a landmark mansion, farm, wharf and the Mount Vernon Inn.

When asked if the inn serves turkey Aloisi replied: "That's a good question. I assume so," she said.

Mount Vernon Estate in fact serves a "Roast Turkey Dinner" for $17.50, according to the web site.

At the Nov. 23, 2011, pardoning, President Obama said Peace was "going to retire to a life of leisure at Mount Vernon - the same place where George Washington spent his golden years."

President John F. Kennedy first observed the pardoning of the thanksgiving turkey in 1963, but the act did not become official until George H.W. Bush in 1989.



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