Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Happiest Turkeys on Earth!!

The Happiest Turkeys on Earth!

          From 2005 to 2009 the Presidentially Pardoned turkeys were sent to the Disney Parks. I remember when people heard the turkeys that were given a Presidential Pardon were sent to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Animal rights people complained and said, ”How dare the President send the birds to Disney where they will die from poor care." I remember seeing petitions trying to stop the turkeys being sent to the parks and laughing at the people trying to push them in my face.

          I'm here to tell you that at least some of the turkeys pardoned and sent to Disney are still happy and HEALTHY at the Disneyland Resort. When we were at the park in December we saw Courage. Courage came to Disneyland in 2009 and there are two other birds that came to the park in 2007 and are named May and Flower. May and Flower were at the Circle D Ranch off stage relaxing. The birds take turns on stage for guests to see.

          The turkeys are raised in the same fashion as turkeys designated for slaughter, but are selected "at birth" for pardoning and are trained to handle loud noises, flash photography and large crowds. Because most Thanksgiving turkeys are bred and raised for size at the expense of longer life, they are prone to health problems associated with obesity such as heart disease, respiratory failure and joint damage. As a result of these factors, most of the pardoned turkeys have very short lives after their pardoning, frequently dying within a year of being pardoned.

          The average turkey that is pardoned that is sent to the usual petting zoo dies within 3-4 months. They die because they are overweight and at risk when the petting zoo gets them. Most petting zoos don't have the time, money or other resources to make a difference. At Disney Parks as you can see they have live years longer than the average.

          How does Disney keep the turkeys healthy and happy? EASY when the turkeys first got to the parks they were put on a strict diet. The turkeys had been bread to gain weight fast and be overweight. Disney also gets the turkeys into an exercise program. Does Disney put the turkey on a turkey tread mill? Does a Cast Member chase the turkey around a track to get its heart rate up? Nope!! Disney puts a Cast Member on a bike and has them ride around the animal yard. They turkeys chase the bike riding Cast Member around the yard having a grand time. They also give a brave Cast Member a shiny silver pan and have the Cast Member run around the yard with the turkeys chasing them. So either way the turkeys are the ones doing the chasing and having fun!

          To those animal rights people saying Disney has no right caring for animals I say rethink your position. They do an amazing job caring for all of the animals at the Disney Parks. They take the time to make sure they have a proper diet and exercise and enriching activities.

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