November 29, 2021

Meet Peanut butter and Jelly: Hoosier turkeys pardoned at White House

WASHINGTON — Peanut Butter and Jelly, two turkeys from Saint Anthony, Indiana, traveled to Washington, D.C., completing the biggest adventure of their lifetime.

The two birds were named National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate. They were pardoned by President Joe Biden and will live to see another Thanksgiving.

“Following the pardoning ceremony, these turkeys will be taken back home again to Indiana, to Purdue University, to live out the remainder of their life at the Purdue University Animal Sciences Education and Research Farm,” said Phil Seger, National Turkey Federation chair.

They will live a comfortable life indoors with access to a shaded grassy area.

The turkeys were raised by the Welp family, who worked hard to raise the famous birds.

“Raising the presidential turkey flock has really been a lot of fun this year,” said Andrea Welp, farmer for Farbest Farms.

“With another year of uncertainties with the pandemic, this project has been something to look forward to and a joy to participate in. I know the kids have had fun raising the turkeys, especially dancing to loud music to try and get them used to the media attention for their big day.”

Indiana is the fourth-largest turkey-producing state in the nation and ranks first in duck production and second in egg production, according to a news release from Purdue.

The poultry industry contributes more than $12 billion in total economic activity to Indiana and employs more than 12,000 people.

Marisa Erasmus, animal sciences professor at Purdue, said the Thanksgiving turkeys present an educational opportunity.

“Although turkeys are an important American cultural tradition, most people do not know much about turkey production and management, so this is an amazing chance for us to increase awareness and knowledge of turkeys’ behavior, personalities and welfare,” Erasmus said.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor