Two Turkeys Granted Presidential Pardons

President Bush conducts his last turkey pardon.

On Wednesday President Bush carried on the long tradition of pardoning the National Thanksgiving turkey in the Rose Garden. According to Agriculture Department history expert Ann Effland, the tradition began with Harry Truman.

"In 1947 the National Turkey Federation started presenting a live turkey as well as two dressed turkeys to the President," Effland says. "And the Presidents have when they accepted the birds pardoned the live one."

This year a turkey named Pumpkin was pardoned, but also a second turkey, Pecan. President Bush said that was in the "unlikely event the main act 'chickened out'."

So for the last time President Bush signed the Presidential pardon papers.

"In recent weeks I've talked a lot about sprinting to the finish," Bush said. "But I've assured these turkeys that they will not be trotting to their finish, because Pumpkin and Pecan are hereby granted a full Presidential pardon."

The birds head to Disneyland where they will be in the Thanksgiving Parade and live out the rest of their lives.

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