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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Background on the Pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama will pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey in a ceremony in the Rose Garden.  The President will celebrate the 69th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, reflect upon the time-honored traditions of Thanksgiving, and wish American families a warm, safe, and healthy holiday.

The President will pardon Tater and its alternate Tot, both 18-week old, 40-pound turkeys. As part of the naming process, Iowa school children submitted pairs of names for this year’s turkeys.

After the pardoning, the turkeys will be on display for visitors at their permanent home at Virginia Tech’s newly built “Gobblers Rest” exhibit where they will be cared for by students and veterinarians in the university’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department. 

Both birds were raised in Northwest Iowa under the supervision of National Turkey Federation Chairman John Reicks.

The National Turkey Federation will bring two dressed turkeys for the First Family to donate. These turkeys will be given to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC.