Virginia Tech Criticized Over ‘Pardoned’ Turkeys in New PETA Ad

For Immediate Release:
March 12, 2021

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Blacksburg, Va. – “Pardoned in Washington. Punished at Virginia Tech.” That’s the message of a new PETA ad running on Sunday in the Roanoke Times that lets the public in on a dirty secret: Four turkeys issued a “full and complete pardon” by former President Donald J. Trump—who called one of them “so lucky”—are being housed in dirty, barren cells at Virginia Tech, and they’re so stressed and depressed from a lack of fresh air and sunlight and with nothing to see or do at all that their feathers are falling out. PETA points out that the public was told that the pardoned turkeys were “alive and well” at the inaptly named “Gobblers Rest”—which is a far cry from the reality at the university.

The ad urges Virginia Tech to “let PETA give these turkeys the chance to enjoy companionship, fresh air, and sunshine at a reputable sanctuary.”

“These birds were supposed to have the good life, but instead, they have no life at all, being relegated to pass every day and night in a filthy, bare pen,” says PETA Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daniel Paden. “These birds are suffering, and Virginia Tech should face that fact and allow PETA to transport them to an accredited sanctuary so that they can finally enjoy their remaining days as advertised.”

As PETA’s video footage and photographs show, the turkeys—Peas and Carrots (2018) and Bread and Butter (2019)—are languishing under fluorescent lights in the school’s grim Gobblers Rest pavilion, where brown stains mar their tail feathers and they are denied any opportunity to engage in natural behavior, such as foraging and roosting. PETA sent a letter to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech offering to place the birds in a reputable sanctuary, but he has not replied.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind