2021 Pardoning Ceremony

Meet Peanut Butter and Jelly, Two Turkeys Being Pardoned This Thanksgiving

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Two turkeys will gobble, gobble, gobble for another day as the White House has officially selected them as the turkeys who will be pardoned and saved from slaughter this Thanksgiving.

Indiana natives Peanut Butter and Jelly were announced as the chosen poultry and are slated to be pardoned by President Joe Biden at an annual ceremony in the White House's Rose Garden on Friday. Each year, two turkeys are selected by the president, where one gets the official pardon, and the other serves as an alternate. Neither turkey will be Thanksgiving dinner. 

Upon being pardoned, the two birds will travel to Purdue University in their Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agriculture. A press release from the school says the turkeys will be provided a home and with care via Purdue's Animal Science Research and Education Center, "where they will reside in a separate enclosed indoor setting with access to a shaded grassy area."

The 40 lb. turkeys were shown on the White House's official Instagram page, romping around in a room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington D.C. People reported that "hotel staff rolled out a red carpet for the pair, who spent the day on Zoom calls ahead of a meal of corn and soybeans and a rest on the property's plush beds."

Turkeys are pardoned every year by the acting president in a tradition that the White House says in an oral history on their website was likely originated by "President Lincoln's 1863 clemency to a turkey recorded in an 1865 dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks."

Since 1865, the pardons have been sporadic, with some presidents adhering to the tradition and others not appearing to acknowledge. The White House says that the practice "of sending the presentation turkey to a farm became the norm under President Ronald Reagan" and became an annual occurrence post-1981.

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