Interview With a Turkey

As part of our ongoing series of conversations with animals on policy and population control issues, we recently sat down with Cobbler, a turkey pardoned by President Obama today.

Us: Happy Thanksgiving, Cobbler!

Cobbler: This is a farce. Just call me “Cargill.”

Us: Okay, Cargill. Would you like to expand on that?

Cargill: It’s interesting that you’ve opted to use that particular verb. “Expand.” Do you know how much I weigh?

Us: I was pretty much raised not to ask that question of anyone who isn’t an infant.

Cargill: I weigh forty pounds. I am nineteen weeks old, and I weigh forty pounds.

Us: No, that does seem…like a lot.

Cargill: Well, when you’ve been stuffed with corn and soy for every waking instant of those nineteen weeks, you’d be amazed what your developing body is capable of. Not, like, walking without severe joint pain, or anything, but that’s not what they want me for.

Us: Oh.

Cargill: They’ve trained us to sit on a box while loud music is played. Isn’t that cute?

Us: A little, maybe? People do love this stuff. Like the Easter Egg Roll and the, um, cookie baking competition for the First Ladies.

Cargill: It’s a sideshow. A grotesque sideshow. I don’t blame Obama! I have no beef with him, as it were. He doesn’t want to waste his time doing shit like this. I’m sure he’d rather be, I don’t know, trying to keep the Israelis and the Palestinians from wiping themselves off the face of the earth.

Us: Probably.

Cargill: Personally, I’d like to see him take the time to revisit the ATROCIOUS Farm Bill. Do you think the people who own Big Agriculture are eating forty pound turkeys who have been gorging on corn and soy?

Us: No?

Cargill: No. They’re eating normal turkeys, who can walk, who have probably been, I don’t know, delicately munching quinoa while milling around “Our Town”. Turkeys that you’ve probably chosen to illustrate your article with. That’s how I’d like to have lived, but, whatever, Dame Fortuna has had different plans for me.

Us: But you’re getting pardoned! That’s great, right?

Cargill: Huh. For what crime am I being pardoned? Am I Marc Rich, over here? I was hatched, I was presented with corn and soy, and now I am the final freaking contestant in the Hunger Games.

Us: But there are two of you! They pardon two of you.

Cargill: You know why?

Us: No.

Cargill: So that if I don’t play nice, they have a backup. Look it up! The 2010 turkeys? Apple and Cider? See how long they got to enjoy their pardon.

Us: That does put a depressing spin on it. But, I mean, it’s Thanksgiving, right? It’s all families and togetherness and tradition.

Cargill: It’s genocide.

Us: Jesus, Cargill.

Cargill: Do you know what the life expectancy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota is?

Us: No.

Cargill: Well, they clocked it in 2007 at forty-eight for men and fifty-two for women, so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m not really going to be the life of the party at this time of year.

Us: Oh, Cargill. I’m sorry. I’m a nice, progressive person. I’m making a very small turkey.

Cargill (softens): I’m sure you are. We all have to busily ignore the idea of the Brotherhood of Man in order to live our little lives, buying small turkeys and not chaining ourselves to barricades. Or, in my case, refusing to headbob adorably when the music starts up.

Us: Thanks for talking to us, Cargill. Could we come back and talk to you again for Christmas at Mount Vernon?

Cargill: If I’m still around, it would be a pleasure.