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Pardon or dinner? The fate of two Normandy Park pet turkeys is in your hands

Norm the Turkey will live to see his first Thanksgiving. (Photo courtesy of Candace Krull)

The Krull family in Normandy Park, Washington have two pet turkeys, Norm and Emma Jean.

“Our house is divided,” said Candace Krull. “I and our youngest enjoy our Thanksgiving turkey and we were excited to partake in the turkey that we had raised from a little chick this spring. My husband and my oldest son were like, ‘No way! We raised these, we fed them, we’ve looked at them, we can’t eat them!'”

So they let the public decide. This is the second year the family put their turkeys out in the front yard along with two big bins. One bin is labeled “Dinner” the other is labeled “Pardon” and people are encouraged to cast their votes with canned food that will be donated to Union Gospel Mission. So far they’ve collected more than 2,600 items.

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I learned about the Krulls and their turkeys from Pasado’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit and animal sanctuary outside Monroe with a mission to end animal cruelty.

“These are two family pets who were basically being used as part of a publicity stunt to do, what in their minds, was a good thing,” said executive director Laura Henderson. “To drive donations for a food drive. Putting your family pet’s life on the line as a publicity stunt just isn’t the right thing to do. We were imagining, what if this had been puppies or kittens?”

Krull says it’s all in good fun, to gather donations and bring the community together. They aren’t intending to kill the turkeys. But I asked her what would happen if the “Dinner” bin collects the most donations.

“They’re our pets. We’ve raised them since they were babies, they’re very friendly,” said Krull. “It would be very, very hard to eat them for Thanksgiving dinner. On the other hand, turkeys brought up as meat, they don’t really serve any other function than that. I come from a family of hunters and fisherman.”

Krull says a few vegan activists have visited their home, begging the family not to eat their pets. Last year, she made a deal with one of them: If he could double their donations, he could take the turkeys to a farm sanctuary in Oregon. She stayed true to her word. Those turkeys found a new home and last spring the Krulls adopted Norm and Emma Jean who, it turns out, will not be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.

“Right now ‘pardon’ is ahead by about 600 cans,” she said.

I asked Henderson why they’re focusing on these two urban turkeys, instead of targeting a big poultry factory farm.

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“Forty-six million turkeys will be killed for just Thanksgiving alone,” Henderson said. “So by focusing on these two turkeys, Norm and Emma Jean, we’re helping people connect with these animals as individuals and imagine them as the living, breathing beings who hang out with each other as friends, nuzzle each other and love to eat. It’s a way to connect people with an animal who is sometimes harder to connect with.”

Today is the big pardoning ceremony outside the Krull’s home. Starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, members of city council will do the pardoning, there will be refreshments and the public is encouraged to attend and visit through Thanksgiving to make donations. The house is at: 20005 3rd Ave SW Normandy Park, WA.

Meanwhile, Pasado’s Safe Haven started their own fundraising campaign to show that “compassion is stronger than cruelty” and Henderson says they’ll donate 10% of it to the Krull food drive.

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