Upcoming Presidential Pardons Prompt PETA Ad Blitz

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382


With the prospect of upcoming presidential pardons, PETA has plastered the District with new ads encouraging everyone to take a leaf out of President Donald Trump’s book and pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving. The ads are part of the group’s nationwide push for Americans to celebrate “ThanksVegan” by choosing an animal-friendly feast.

Eyebrows raised when President Trump granted clemency to Roger Stone, Rod Blagojevich, and Dwight and Steven Hammond, all of whom have committed crimes—but turkeys are birds of a different feather: They don’t lie, cheat, steal, or commit arson, and they have real family values. In nature, turkeys are protective and loving parents and spirited explorers. When kept as household companions, some love to sit on laps and be petted. Perhaps watching previous pardonees Peas and Carrots being stroked in the White House’s Rose Garden in 2018 was why Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s children insisted on a vegetarian Thanksgiving that year.

“It can be hard to forgive someone who’s done you wrong, no matter what it says in the Bible—like the one the president brandished at St. John’s Church—but it’s as easy as tofu cream pie to pardon a turkey,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA offers tips, recipes, and lots more resources so that everyone can enjoy a delicious ThanksVegan meal and give turkeys something to celebrate, too.”

Turkeys can live up to 10 years, but those raised for food are normally slaughtered when they’re between 12 and 26 weeks old. They’re bred, fed, and drugged to grow much larger and much faster than they would in nature, and many experience heart attacks before they’re 6 months old—so handlers of pardoned turkeys bring backup birds with them in case a turkey dies before the photo op. After the event, the birds are expected to live a year or less.

The more than 46 million turkeys who aren’t pardoned each Thanksgiving are hung by their feet from metal shackles and dragged through an electrified bath, and they’re often still conscious when their throats are slit and they’re dumped into scalding-hot defeathering tanks.

As part of its #ThanksVegan campaign, PETA is also placing pro-turkey billboards across the country; running its “Grace” ad, in which a little girl makes some pointed comments while saying grace at the dinner table; protesting outside turkey slaughterhouses; and partnering with restaurants and grocery stores to promote their ready-to-roast vegan turkeys and other animal-free options.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—offers a ThanksVegan recipe guide. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

The group’s “Pardon Tom” ad appears on bus shelters at the following locations:

  • 3000 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue S.E., west of Eighth Street S.E.
  • 1392 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • 4301 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • 1700 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • 2689 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • 1221 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., east of 13th Street N.W.
  • 839 17th St. N.W.
  • 1855 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
  • 900 23rd St. N.W.
  • 1139 21st St. N.W.
  • 23rd Street N.W., south of I Street N.W.

PETA’s “Presidential” ad appears on bus shelters at the following locations:

  • 600 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E.
  • 2400 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
  • 4483 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
  • 15 Dupont Cir. N.W.
  • 198 Seventh St. S.W.
  • 4101 River Rd. N.W.
  • 4498 Wisconsin Ave.
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