Traditionally, the Presidentially-pardoned Thanksgiving gobblers retire to Frying Pan Park, which is just down the road from us (a half-hour's drive from the White House). This year, the turkeys are being flown, first-class, to Disneyland in California instead!
A reasonably thorough version of the story is here:
Baltimore Sun: National turkey will fly, by plane, to Disneyland (PETA criticized Va. educational farm, usual fate of White House bird)
This move from a local retirement to an "all-expenses-paid" first-class flight to Disneyland in CA is supposedly is happening because of a PETA write-in campaign maligning FPP as being inadequate to care for the turkeys. PETA claims these "special" turkeys (which were raised in Minnesota and were almost dinner, please remind yourselves!) tend to die within six months at FPP and deserve the Disney treatment and the California climate. Disney jumped at the chance and begged to have the birds, to lead their Thanksgiving parade and then hang out with Santa.
The "farm" being complained about by PETA and the President is Frying Pan Park. It's a historical property run by the Fairfax County Park Authority, with the working farm portion being Kidwell Farm (see the FPP website in previous link for a virtual tour). The site is run mostly by Park Authority personnel and by 4H and other volunteers. We have been there dozens of times, and the visiting kids (and sometimes the visiting adults) love checking out the animals - Presidential turkeys and others.
Sounds like some moolah and/or favors at work. FPP has nothing to bargain with compared to the huge Disney corporation. It just happens to be Disneyland's 50th anniversary - just a coincidence, of course. And what a waste of money, to fly two turkeys from DC to California first class!
Is PETA so sure that Disneyland is more deserving of these turkeys than Frying Pan Park/Kidwell Farm? Last I checked, Disney served a lot of meat in their cafe meals. They aren't exactly a vegan company. Frying Pan Park needs the publicity of the presidential turkeys a heck of a lot more than Disney does. Again: no money, no contest.
A source close to the Mistress of this Blog suggests another motive for the change of venue: yanking the "Presidential turkey goes to Virginia" bragging rights away from Jerry Kilgore, who just lost the election to become Virginia's next governor. Far-fetched? Let's wait and see.
In any case, to those who made this decision: Jerks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope the turkeys don't make it any longer at Disneyland than they tend to at FPP, just to prove PETA (and anyone else who helped to make this stupid decision) wrong.