US President pardons turkeys ahead of Thanksgiving feast
As households across the United States prepare to roast the traditional turkey dinner to mark the Thanksgiving holiday, two birds were able to escape the pot and instead board a flight to Disneyland thanks to US President George W Bush, dpa reported.
Bush pardoned two turkeys in a humourous ceremony that has become a tradition at the White House.
Voters dubbed the birds Pumpkin and Pecan after two typical Thanksgiving pies. Later Wednesday the animals were to be flown to Disneyland in California, where Pumpkin would serve as honorary marshal of the Thanksgiving day parade.
"Together these birds will gobble the rest of their days in 'The Happiest Place on Earth.' I just hope they stay humble there," Bush joked.
The president noted that it was his last Thanksgiving in the White House and gave thanks for US troops, civil servants and his family.
"In recent weeks, I've talked a lot about sprinting to the finish. Yet I've assured these turkeys they will not be trotting to their finish," he said. "That's because in keeping with a longstanding tradition, Pumpkin and Pecan are hereby granted a full and unconditional presidential pardon."
The holiday, which dates to early US settlers in Massachusetts, is traditionally a time for families to gather, give thanks for their blessings and share a meal.
Bush said that he was thankful his mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, was doing well after being hospitalized with stomach pains and having surgery for an ulcer.