Thanksgiving turkey pardons: A history of the presidential tradition
The annual National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation has not always been a pardon. In fact, the tradition of 'pardoning' a turkey only began in 1989. Before that, turkeys were presented to presidents, but they weren't necessarily spared.
One of the first
The tradition of pardoning a turkey before every Thanksgiving began in 1989. Here's George H. W. Bush granting leniency to one bird.