Barack Obama has marked Thanksgiving by pardoning two turkeys. The traditional pardoning ceremony took place at the White House and saw Liberty and Peace given a reprieve. The turkeys will now be on display (alive) in Mount Vernon until early 2012.
The turkeys were selected from around 100 applicants, and were named by schoolchildren from their home state in Minnesota. As for the other 98 nominees, they’re likely to end up meeting a more culinary fate.
It’s not clear exactly when the practice of pardoning turkeys began. Various sources suggest that Harry S. Truman was the first to pardon a turkey, although there is nothing to support that claim. The tradition was formalised as late as 1989, and the turkeys are selected to be pardoned at birth so that they can be trained to accept the flash photography that comes with the ceremony.