Governor Tom Vilsack granted a pardon to two Toms who were on his lawnWednesday morning. Vilsack says President Harry Truman started the traditionof pardoning the turkey he’d been presented for Thanksgiving dinner. Vilsacksays the yearly event gives him a chance to salute turkey growers for theircontribution to the economy. The two pardoned turkeys are now living atLiving History Farms. The Toms came from Todd Hill’s farm near Ellsworth.Hill raises about 150-thousand turkeys every year. The turkeys pardonedtoday were 21-weeks old. Hill says turkeys aren’t the smartest birds, andhave been known to drown in the rain. Young turkeys will look up, get a raindrop caught in their throat, won’t be able to breathe and will die. Theturkeys are bred for slaughter, and genetic improvements to produce a leanerbird have changed the color of the feathers from brown to white. The twoturkeys who visited Terrace Hill were mostly quiet. Hill says they don’tgobble unless they’re in a big group. After pardoning the live turkeys thismorning, Governor Vilsack revealed his family has purchased a frozen turkeythat he’ll roast tomorrow, breast side down so the meat’s more tender.Vilsack was asked by a reporter if he felt a kinship with the “Tom” turkeys.Vilsack laughed, and said there are times in his job of Governor when hefeels pilloried, baked and roasted.
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