Governor’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony cancelled due to bird flu

Des Moines, IA-  An annual Thanksgiving week event at the Governor’s mansion has been canceled due to concerns surrounding bird flu.

Radio Iowa reports that American presidents began pardoning turkeys in the 1870s and governors around the country have been holding annual ceremonies, too, to offer clemency to birds that otherwise were otherwise headed to the Thanksgiving table.

Alex Murphy, a spokesman for Governor Kim Reynolds, says with a statewide order in place to protect flocks from the threat of bird flu, turkeys will not be transported to Terrace Hill for the annual pardoning ceremony.

The event has given Iowa governors a chance to promote Iowa’s turkey industry. Iowa turkey producers typically raise more than 12 million turkeys a year and the state has two turkey processing plants, in Storm Lake and West Liberty.