The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the White House on Tuesday demanding President Obama skip the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon.
While Obama will be preventing a turkey from being carved up, PETA called the ceremony outdated and accused the president of being in partnership with the “turkey-killing industry.”
In a letter, the animal rights group argues the annual White House ceremony “makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds.” It also says the annual event “portrays the United States president as being in some sort of business partnership with the turkey-killing industry.”
“You understand so well that African-Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community have been poorly served throughout history, and now I am asking you to consider other living beings who are ridiculed, belittled, and treated as if their sentience, feelings, and very natures count for nothing,” wrote PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in the letter.
The letter also objects to the idea that the birds could be pardoned, arguing “they are not guilty of anything other than being born into a world of prejudice.”
The turkey pardon is a Thanksgiving tradition that harkens back to Abraham Lincoln, who, according to legend, wrote out a presidential pardon for a turkey at the insistence of his son, Tad Lincoln.