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Iowa birds will travel to White House for Donald Trump's presidential pardon

Birds will live out their days at Iowa State University

Kiley Wellendorf
Ames Tribune

President Donald Trump will pardon an Iowa bird next week at the White House. 

Turkey producers Ron and Susie Kardel of Walcott raised this year's "presidential flock," including the two turkeys chosen to travel to Washington, D.C. A White House official told CNN that the ceremony is set for Tuesday.

One of the birds will be named the official Thanksgiving Turkey and the other will serve as an alternate, according to an ISU news release. Both will then live out their days at ISU and be available for public viewing starting at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5. 

“We are excited to welcome these national Thanksgiving icons onto our animal science farms," Dan Thomson, professor and chair of ISU's Department of Animal Science, said in the release. "(ISU) is invested in supporting the poultry and turkey industries through teaching and research as evidenced in our new state-of-the-art turkey production facility to be built in the spring of 2021."

Susie and Ron Kardel of Walcott, Iowa raised two turkeys that will visit the White House for the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. The turkeys will then go on to live at Iowa State University in Ames.

Ron Kardel chairs the National Turkey Federation. The birds' journey to the White House will be documented on that group's Facebook page. 

Last year, North Carolina turkeys Bread and Butter were hosted at a Washington, D.C. hotel before participating in the ceremony, where Butter was officially designated as that year's National Thanksgiving Turkey.

The annual holiday tradition was made official in 1989 under former President George H.W. Bush. 

While at ISU, the turkeys will be available for public viewing, student engagement, teaching and outreach activities through the Department of Animal Science, according to the release, and animal science students, faculty and College of Veterinary Medicine students will contribute to their care.

“These turkeys will help educate students and the public about the turkey industry in Iowa while adding to the strong poultry curriculum at Iowa State," Katelyn Boeding, a junior in agricultural communications and student president of the Poultry Interest Group, said in the release.