Thanksgiving can be tough for a turkey, but every year two birds get a lucky break thanks to the presidential pardon.
And for the pardoned turkey and its alternate, their large size makes life sweet—but short. Last year’s presidentially pardoned turkeys, Apple and Cider, passed away within the year after President Obama pardoned them.
Susie Coston, national shelter director of the Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal rescue facility, says that the birds are bred for eating, which makes them fat and prone to heart disease, respiratory conditions, and strained joints. In order to dodge death, she says, the turkeys would need to be on a restrictive diet.