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The White House turkey pardoning ceremony is a Thanksgiving tradition, but what happens to the poor birds that don't pardoned? The White House's new social media outreach makes us go all existential on the holiday. The White House is asking people to choose which fowl will be the 2012 National Thanksgiving Turkey. Per the White House blog this is "first time ever, the American public will get its say" in this matter, and they are faced with two worthy candidates. 

First up, Cobbler:

Who competes with Gobbler: 

As you can see per their adorable bios—how did Carly Simon get so lucky?—the two were born on the same day this year on the same farm. But New York Times food critic Pete Wells wondered if they face drastically different fates: 

Takes the whole "vote for revenge" thing to the next level when you think about it.

Cobbler is leading by a margin of about 300 Facebook likes and about 100 shares—the life-and-death metrics involved—when we last checked. We understand Cobbler's appeal. Compared to Gobbler he's a handsomer bird, with a longer, thinner neck and a less noticeable wattle.

Despite our worrying, Gobbler, should he lose, might not have such a terrible future. The Northern Virginia Daily reported that a "Shenandoah Valley gobbler and a sidekick Shenandoah Valley gobbler and a sidekick [that] will serve as an alternate" will travel to Washington to the pardoning ceremony, stay in a hotel, and then "live out their lives at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate." The White House too notes in their blog post that "It's all gravy -- no turkeys will be harmed during the selection of the National Thanksgiving Turkey." But despite the White House's attempt to assuage fears, if you ask PETA the entire enterprise is pretty gruesome. The organization wants Obama to skip the pardon because it "makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds and portrays the United States' president as being in some sort of business partnership with the turkey-killing industry." You can't win when you're a turkey on Thanksgiving. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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