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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has supported the presidential turkey pardoning in the past but not this year. The group’s president wrote Mr. Obama arguing that the event “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.”

Members of the National Wild Turkey Federation were sitting in the first row at the Rose Garden event.

Later in the afternoon, the first family, accompanied by the Oregon State basketball team coached by Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, handed out bags of food to families at the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast Washington.