Heritage Turkeys and Pardon ceremonies

Titusville, Florida has never done a turkey pardon ceremony and this particular pardoning was due to unique circumstances available at the first link.

More relevantly, the turkey in question was a Royal Palm Turkey, not the standard commercial broad breasted white.


The Royal Palm is one of a number of Heritage breeds of turkey that are not used on a large scale commercially. Unlike broad breasted commercial turkeys which rarely live past one year due to their enormous weight, Heritage breeds generally live to 10 years and can live to 12 years. In this case, the pardoned bird will live out its life at a local animal rescue.

I think it would be a good idea, instead of pardoning a broad breasted white, which will die in months anyways, the Turkey pardoning ceremony could be used to spotlight our Heritage Turkey breeds. Ironically, as the NPR article states, to save these breeds, we must eat them. :smile: Create a demand for these birds that will encourage breeders to raise them for sale.

Admittedly, the choice of turkey in Titusville was a matter of happenstance, but the White House should consider promoting heritage breeds in the future.

It’s a good idea to spotlight longer living turkeys. Some people have a hard time wrapping their head around the economics of conservation. Just try telling animal lovers that well organized and maintained trophy hunting is actually good for the animal’s species.

I do have a wild turkey trophy from a bird shot over 20 years ago. :smile:

I have raised a number of heritage birds over the years, including Royal Palms. Definitely a different eating experience than your typical store bought bird.

Here is the picture of a Royal Palm hen.