Peace’s death is untimely but not unusual. The two turkeys Obama pardoned in 2010, Apple and Cider, were both dead by the next Thanksgiving. They developed respiratory infections soon after arriving at Mount Vernon, according to Aloisi, and then a foot disorder that made it hard for them to walk and escalated into joint problems.
Turkeys bred for eating just aren’t built to live long, so the presidential pardon is simply an extension on the death sentence carried by birds too fat and big-breasted to reproduce naturally.
While turkeys in the wild grow to about 18 pounds, the demand for 40 million big, juicy birds this time of year has produced a farm-raised turkey of different proportions. When Obama pardoned Liberty and Peace last Thanksgiving, the 19-week-old birds weighed 45 pounds each. They lost some weight after arriving at Mount Vernon, which may have helped keep them mobile, Aloisi said.