There are some traditions that are time-honored and classic, and other traditions that are completely stupid, counter-productive, and need to die.
In the latter category, we find the annual spate of presidents and governors pardoning turkeys.
This all got started when the prize turkey was presented to the president as part of the first family's Thanksgiving meal. Naturally, the Presidential turkey would be a prime specimen, and the Presdient would have the opportunity to inspect the bird, in one of those somewhat silly rituals. According to one website I found, the practice of pardoning the turkeys goes back to 1989 and the first President Bush, and both Clinton and Bush 43 have continued the practice.
This would be a sweet gesture, except for two things. The pardoned turkeys, being almost exclusively Broadbreasted White breeds, are bred to mature quickly and have ridiculously oversized breasts, all of which shortens the life spans of the turkeys. So, the turkey with a new lease on life generally survives about 2-3 months past Thanksgiving, then dies a natural death. Secondly, in almost all cases, the President and family actually sit down and eat a turkey for Thanksgiving, so the whole pardon thing is largely a charade.
Let's make this simple and brief: if you're going to pardon a turkey for Thanksgiving, don't eat turkey for dinner. If you're going to eat turkey for dinner, accept the prize bird and have someone go chop its head off and prep it for you. The current state is simply hypocritical and furthers the mental separation of food on the plate and where it comes from.