Presidents have been pardoning turkeys ever since the Truman administration in 1947, but it wasn't technically an official tradition until 1989, when President George H.W. Bush made it a permanent staple in the United State's Thanksgiving tradition. Legend has it that this tradition dates all the way back to the Lincoln administration, when one of his sons asked him to spare the family's Thanksgiving turkey instead of killing it for dinner.
Despite the fact that each President pardons one or two turkeys each Thanksgiving, these turkeys seem to still have a less-than-stellar lifespan. Most Presidential turkeys, like many other factory-farmed animals, are bred to be eaten. By the time the turkey pardoning date rolls around, their days are numbered.Out of all the Presidential pardons, the Obama turkey pardon tends to have the worst luck. His pardoned turkeys rarely live longer than a year, and their deaths tend to be worse than any of the previous turkeys. We're sure he's not killing these turkeys on purpose, but his reputation still lingers in the holiday fowl community. The ill-fated turkeys on this list may have received a Presidential pardon, but they were still cut down in the prime of their lives. Vote up the most ill-fated pardoned turkeys below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
Stars Was Pardoned in 2003, and Died the Day After He Arrived at His New Home
After being Pardoned by President George W. Bush, Stars died the day after he arrived at Frying Pan Park in Virginia. The man that ran the turkey sanctuary at Frying Pan Park said, "Their flesh has grown so fast and their heart and their bones and their other organs can't catch up."
Biscuits Was Pardoned in 2004, But Death Was Already on the Way
Biscuits, the tastiest sounding of the presidential turkeys, was already too weak to stand by January 2005, and died from exposure later that year.
Cobbler Was Pardoned in 2012, Only to Be Euthanized in 2013
Cobbler died the same year as his pardon buddy, Gobbler. Although he lived significantly longer (six months), he was euthanized in August of 2013 - presumably to be eaten.
Popcorn Was Pardoned in 2013, But Died of Heatstroke in Summer 2014
During the hot, hot summer of 2014, Popcorn the turkey died of heat stroke while working on his tan at Morven Park, Virginia. When will these birds learn to start wearing sunscreen and invest in a good misting fan?!