WASHINGTON – Millions of families across the United States will enjoy a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, but two lucky birds won’t be attending thanks to an official pardon from President Trump.
Kerry Doughty, chairman of the National Turkey Federation (NTF), presented the president and First Lady Melania Trump with “Bread” and “Butter” as part of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation.
“As we gather this week with loved ones across our land, we give thanks to God for the many gifts he has bestowed upon us,” Trump said during the presentation. “Today, we also come together to honor our beautiful feathered friend, the noble turkey… This Thanksgiving, we bow our heads in gratitude for the new-found prosperity and spirit that’s taking place all across America.”
The annual event signals the start of the holiday season in the US while highlighting the contributions of US turkey producers and the role of agriculture in modern America. Bread and Butter were raised under Doughty’s supervision by Wellie Jackson, a Butterball contract grower based in North Carolina.
“As Americans prepare to gather to give thanks, it is an honor to be invited to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey to the President and First Lady,” Doughty said. “Being here with my family today and participating in this special tradition is one of the highlights of my career in the turkey industry and a reminder of all that we have to be grateful for, including those who are working day in and day out to bring food to our tables.”
The turkeys were treated to comfortable accommodations at the Willard InterContinental, adjacent to the White House grounds. The birds will retire to their permanent home at Gobblers Rest on the campus of Virginia Tech Univ. in Blacksburg, Virginia, in a custom-built enclosure inside the Animal and Poultry Science Department’s Livestock Pavilion. The turkeys will be available for the public to visit and learn about the university’s programs in animal and poultry sciences and veterinary medicine.
In addition to Bread and Butter, Jaindl’s Turkey Farm of Orefield, Pennsylvania, provided the First Family with two dressed turkeys as part of the Trump’s food donation to a local charity.