Pardoning Turkeys

I’ve always found the practice of pardoning turkeys to be really bizarre.  We don’t pardon any other animals.  Why do we pardon individuals of this one specific animal species that we eat out of dozens?  And it’s even stranger that we pardon turkeys instead of just setting them free.  It changes the dynamic from predator-prey to this bizarre dystopia where simply being a turkey is not only a capital offense, but that the penalty is death by consumption, and every year a few lucky, random individuals are pardoned for it.

It seems like it’d make for a pretty easy horror scenario.  Just replace turkeys with either a group of humans or humanity as a whole.  The example I was thinking about would be to have a world where a small group of vampires are the dominant predator with humans as their prey.  Every year, by some process known only to the vampires, a few humans are “pardoned,” and made inviolable by other vampires.  While their friends and family and neighbors must live in fear of a vampire attack, these few can live in peace from those monsters.

But would their lives be peaceful?  Or would other humans grow envious of them and attack them themselves?  Why should they be safe from the vampires?  What did they do to deserve it?

Generally, I believe that pretty much all human-animal relationships, as well as a lot of animal-animal relationships, can be immediately turned into the premise of a horror story simply by making humans the affected party.  Hell, even a few human-plant relationships.  Just look at wild cabbage, which has been so thoroughly artificially selected by humans that its descendants include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, savoy, kohlrabi, and kai-lan.  Imagine if an alien race bred humanity into such a diverse array of specialized forms for their own convenience, your entire species nothing more than another race’s design.  (I’ve read a story that had that premise online, but can’t find it now…)

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6 Responses to Pardoning Turkeys

  1. Ripberger says:

    I remember a news story about the pardoned presidential turkey. They fatten the turkey up so much for the presentation, the turkey really doesn’t live very long after the pardoning. It would actually be more merciful to just kill the turkey quickly and humanely, then eat it or let a poor family have it to eat for Thanksgiving.

    I guess the pardoned humans would be so fat, they would die of heart disease or a heart attack not long after the vampires pardon them. The free range humans would not necessarily envy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnkutensky says:

      Was that on NPR? I just came across an NPR article about them like, an hour ago. Geez, poor turkeys. Even pardoned, they’re still condemned to organ failure by artificial selection. I wonder what sort of breeding would create a more sanguine human… Would vampires encourage people to live on mountain tops to create humans with more red blood cells? Do fat people have more blood? I don’t even know…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ripberger says:

        I can’t recall. I think I did hear it on the radio, so it may have been NPR.

        I keep thinking of the Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, where the vampires keep “human cattle” in the dungeons for feeding. No idea on how humans could be breed for more blood. It’s an interesting subject I’ve never thought about until now!


  2. christinadrh says:

    Good question. Especially when you consider a pardon is for a crime. What did the turkey do? Seems the decapitator is the one about to commit a crime against nature. And then we have politics. I think most politicians are wanting a pardon for crimes committed, that’s why they enjoy it. Another warped political ideology. God help us. I’m having fish today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnkutensky says: Found this NPR article about it. Apparently Reagan was the first one to comment on pardoning a turkey, and George HW Bush made it a tradition, so it’s pretty new. Does seem like Obama finds it a bit confusing, too, especially when you learn that out of all pardoned turkeys before this year, only two are still alive. Domesticated turkeys are bred to be so big that the rest just die of organ failure, as Ripberger commented. Certainly does make it stranger that a “pardon” is really more like a year of extra life, followed by a painful death by organ failure instead of euthanasia now. Maybe the turkeys enjoy their extra time, but it’s still pretty macabre.

      Liked by 1 person

      • christinadrh says:

        This all makes it so much worse, I may swear off turkey all together now. Any time we tweak nature it backfires. Why can’t everyone leave good enough, actually the perfection of God, alone. Ugh.


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