Home / Newsroom / American Humane Certified™ Turkeys to be Pardoned at White House

American Humane Certified™ Turkeys to be Pardoned at White House

For the first time in history, American Humane Certified™ turkeys will be pardoned at the White House.

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, November 26, 2019 — For the first time in history, two turkeys, whose care and handling were certified by American Humane, will be pardoned today by the President at the White House.

Founded in 1877, American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. American Humane operates the oldest and largest farm animal welfare certification program in the country. Combined with the No Animals Were Harmed® film and television program and the Humane ConservationTM program, American Humane is the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare.

“We are thrilled to work with Butterball to raise the standard of welfare for turkeys,” said American Humane President and CEO Robin Ganzert. “This Thanksgiving, roughly one-third of all turkeys on dining room tables across the country will come from Butterball, carrying the American Humane CertifiedTM seal. That means more people in more places will have the opportunity to set a humane table for the holidays.”

The turkeys, named Bread and Butter, were raised by Wellie Jackson, a contract farmer for Butterball based in Clinton, North Carolina. They departed for Washington, DC on Sunday after a Friday send-off with all the trappings of political grandeur – red, white and blue bunting, speeches from distinguished guests and photographers eager to snap pictures of the birds of the moment. American Humane Senior Veterinarian Advisor Dr. Don Hoenig accompanied the birds on their journey.

At the send-off, American Humane Senior Field Operations Manager Connor Reynolds spoke alongside North Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, Butterball President and CEO Jay Jandrain, Chairman of the National Turkey Federation Kerry Doughty, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the National Turkey Federation Leslee Oden and the farmer of the hour, Wellie Jackson.

American Humane CertifiedTM provides third-party, independent verification that certified producers’ care and handling of farm animals meets science-based animal welfare standards. The guidelines by which farmers are assessed are developed by an independent scientific advisory committee comprised of leading experts in the fields of agriculture, species-specific animal behavior, and ethics.

The White House turkey pardoning has a long and storied history. In 1863, President Lincoln granted clemency to a turkey. And in 1947 President Truman became the first president to receive a turkey from the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation. It became an annual event in 1989 when George H.W. Bush formally pardoned a turkey to “live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.”

After the pardon, Bread and Butter will enjoy peaceful retirements at Gobblers Rest on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, Va.

About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. For more information, please visit

Our first-responders are there when animals need them most

From natural disasters to animal cruelty investigations, we are on the front lines protecting animals in times of crisis.

Contribute Volunteer