Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bush lets Rumsfeld Turkey go free

WHITE HOUSE -- President George W. Bush performed a White House tradition Wednesday.

Before he could enjoy his Thanksgiving dinner, the president had some important business to attend to.In an annual ritual dating back to Abraham Lincoln's time, some lucky turkeys, Flyer and Fryer, were spared turning up as dinner.

Bush gave a presidential pardon to two turkeys Wednesday, sending them to live out the remainder of their lives in a park.

Though the presentation of a live turkey dates back to the Lincoln administration, the current ceremony dates to 1947, when the first National Thanksgiving Turkey was presented to President Harry Truman.

The 2006 National Thanksgiving Turkey and its alternate were from Monett, Mo., and were raised under the direction of National Turkey Federation Chairman Mike Briggs, according to the White House. Briggs delegated the day-to-day responsibilities to Lynn Nutt of Monett.

The birds are commercial turkeys used in normal industry production, and they were raised using the same techniques as other commercial birds. They were fed a regular diet of corn and soybean meal and were provided a continuous supply of fresh water.

A few minor modifications were made to prepare these birds for the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. About 30 turkeys were removed from the normal commercial production flock and are being raised separately on Nutt's farm. The birds are periodically hand-fed and given additional interaction with people in an effort to acclimate them.

After the presentation, the National Turkey and its alternate will be taken to Disneyland Resort and Theme Park in Anaheim, Calif., to be a part of the holiday display and where they will stay the remainder of their natural lives. Both the turkeys will serve as honorary Grand Marshals for Disneyland's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

People who visited the White House's Web site got to help name the 2006 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate. Bush announced the winning names at the ceremony.

The public has spoken. 20,478 votes have been cast and "Flyer and Fryer" are the winning names of the Thanksgiving Turkey and the alternate that the President pardoned on November 22, 2006.

Ben and Franklin 18%

Plymouth and Rock 22%

Washington and Lincoln 12%

Corn and Copia 21%

Flyer and Fryer 27%

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