Nov 21, 2023 - News

Gov. Jared Polis pardons four turkeys in Colorado's inaugural Thanksgiving tradition

Gov. Jared Polis pardons four turkeys during an inaugural pardoning ceremony at the Governor's Residence at the Boettcher Mansion on Nov. 20 in Denver. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Four Colorado turkeys will be spared from the Thanksgiving table this year.

Driving the news: Gov. Jared Polis this week pardoned a gaggle of gobblers from Hayden Fresh Farm, marking the first turkeys to receive an official pardon in Colorado history.

  • The four flock members — named Gus, Maple, Matilda and Pumpkin by Polis' children — were treated to a night at the governor's mansion in Denver ahead of the announcement.

Why it matters: Polis' pardon was meant to honor poultry farmers whose bottom lines have taken major blows amid the avian influenza outbreak, which has killed more than 6 million birds across the state.

  • The governor also intends to make turkey pardons a new Thanksgiving tradition in Colorado.

What's next: The turkey quad will waddle out the rest of their days at Luvin Arms Animal Sanctuary in Weld County.

The big picture: Colorado's newest tradition mirrors one at the White House, where presidents have pardoned turkeys annually for decades.

  • The National Turkey Federation has given presidents a turkey each year, starting with President Truman in 1947. The official pardoning tradition began under President George H.W. Bush in 1989, Axios' Shauneen Miranda writes.

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