Thanksgiving turkey stops by the White House before going to college

In accordance with a lighthearted U.S. presidential tradition, this lucky turkey received a “pardon” from President Trump and will escape being the main course of an American Thanksgiving meal.

“I’m pleased to report that, unlike millions of other turkeys at this time of the year, Drumstick has a very, very bright future ahead of him,” Trump said at the White House ceremony before “Drumstick” and his understudy, “Wishbone,” set off on their trip to Virginia Tech University.

Two turkeys standing on hotel beds (White House via AP Images)
The National Turkey Federation pays for the birds to stay at a hotel before the pardoning. (White House via AP Images)

The turkeys will join last year’s pardoned turkeys at Virginia Tech’s “Gobblers Rest” exhibit. There, students and veterinarians care for the turkeys, and the public can visit and learn about the university’s programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.

Future scientists trained in Virginia contribute to the state’s vast poultry industry. Today, the industry contributes about $1 billion annually to the state’s economy and employs thousands of people.

Before completing the lighthearted presidential pardon, Trump took a moment to reflect on the more serious meaning behind Thanksgiving. “As we give thanks for our many blessings, we are reminded of the national family to which we all belong as citizens… [A]s we give thanks to our cherished loved ones, let us also renew our bonds of trust, loyalty and affection between our fellow citizens.”