Minnesota gobbles top turkey status

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith appear with a Minnesota-grown turkey on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016.

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith appear with a Minnesota-grown turkey on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016.

On Monday, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton presided over our state’s annual celebration of the many turkeys who lay down their lives for the betterment of Thanksgiving dinner. More than 450 Minnesota turkey farmers produce 46 million turkeys a year for a hungry America.

Unlike the federal government, Minnesota’s leaders do not pardon the turkey in attendance. Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in the nation. The governor here would no sooner pardon a turkey than a Texas governor would pardon a barrel of crude oil.

Instead, the turkey is whisked from an active turkey farm and presented on a table at a press conference alongside a wicker basket full of processed turkey products.

After being handled by the governor and other top dignitaries, the terrified gobbler returns to the farm, where it plays with its turkey friends forever and ever, never knowing pain or sadness.

Perhaps the presence of the turkey at the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association event is merely a complex psy-ops gambit designed to discourage rioting back on the turkey farm.

“They brought me to their leader, and he just SMILED at me. He wouldn’t STOP! And all along, my brother’s TORSO was shrink wrapped in a decorative pannier!” (gobble gobble)

But in all seriousness, the annual gubernatorial turkey spectacle has a higher purpose. The turkey growers donated $9,000 to Minnesota Hunger Solutions. With uncertainty facing federal support for food stamp programs, food shelves could face unprecedented strain in coming years.

Gov. Dayton did name the turkey, dubbing the tom “Stop the Badgers,” in honor of the big rivalry football game this Saturday between the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

The Gophers chances are roughly akin to those of the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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