Iowa turkey to be practically pardoned for bird flu

Gov. Reynolds will conduct Tuesday’s annual event via video

Iowa turkey to be practically pardoned for bird flu
Iowa turkey to be practically pardoned for bird flu

Squash, a turkey, and his companion Stuffing appear to be listening intently as Gov. Kim Reynolds reads a proclamation outside her Terrace Hill residence, pardoning the two birds ahead of Thanksgiving in November 2021. Squash and stuffing can “roam free” at Living History. Urbandale farms “for the rest of their lives,” according to the governor’s pardon. (The newspaper)

Governor Kim Reynolds met with family members, administrative officials and representatives of the Iowa Turkey Federation on the lawn in front of the Terrace Hill governor’s mansion in 2017 to perform the longstanding tradition of pardoning two turkeys, Spuds and Gravy, as part of the Thanksgiving celebration. (The newspaper)

DES MOINES — An annual tradition is coming online as state and agriculture officials exercise caution amid the looming bird flu.

Gov. Kim Reynolds will pardon two turkeys via video Tuesday morning, the governor’s office said Monday.

The annual tradition is usually performed at the Governor’s Mansion on Terrace Hill in Des Moines. But bird flu, commonly known as bird flu, has been infecting flocks throughout the Midwest, including Iowa, since March.

Faced with this specter, officials noted that it was unsafe to transport turkeys this week.

Instead, Reynolds will record a video message to be posted on the governor’s social media accounts Tuesday morning, a spokesman said.

“The Iowa governor looks forward to pardoning turkeys each year, but under a current statewide order to protect flocks from the threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza, the turkeys are not being shipped to Terrace Hill,” said Reynolds spokesman Alex Murphy said via email.

The state Department of Agriculture on Nov. 10 issued an order canceling all live bird shows and other gatherings of birds for the second time this year. The previous order was issued on March 23 and lifted on June 3.

The latest confirmation of a new case of bird flu came on October 31 in a commercial flock in Wright County. It was the 21st confirmed case this year.

The 2022 bird flu was nowhere near as devastating as it was in 2015, when more than 31 million birds died or were euthanized, causing $1.2 billion in economic damage, according to one report.

Reynolds will also attend the annual tree lighting ceremony at the Iowa Capitol on Tuesday.

Reynolds is not expected to ask any questions at the tree lighting event, her spokesman said. Reynolds has not held a formal meeting with Statehouse reporters since July. Earlier this month, she was elected to another four-year term.

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