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Alaska Life

Palin's turkey slaughter interview remembered

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published November 27, 2012

In November 2008, fresh off the campaign trail, then-Gov. Sarah Palin ventured out to Triple D Farm and Hatchery in Alaska's Matanuska Valley. Her mission: Pardon a turkey.

It was, by all accounts, the first time an Alaska governor had participated in a ceremonial turkey pardoning, but after a "rough fall," then-Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said the governor's office was hoping to organize a "lighthearted event."

Controversy erupted after the governor was filmed speaking to reporters (just do a search in YouTube and you'll find the videos) about state programs on the "chopping block" -- while behind her, Triple D employees butchered turkeys on camera. Palin's people got upset about the camera angle, some animal rights activists got worked up about the slaughter, and Triple D owner Anthony Schmidt spent a few days fielding phone calls from Americans on both sides of the Great Turkey Debate.

In the end, though, the kerfuffle didn't seem to work out too badly for anyone involved -- with the exception, of course, of the ill-fated gobblers who shared the spotlight with Palin.

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