“I know there are some bad ones in here, but this is the last time I’m doing this, so we’re not leaving any room for leftovers,” said Barack Obama as he performed the traditional pardoning of the national Thanksgiving turkey.

In keeping with a tradition that began informally by John Fitzgerald Kennedy at least two turkeys have been pardoned by the incumbent president. Both lucky birds will be sent to Virginia Tech where they will be cared for by members of Virginia Tech’s Animal and Poultry Sciences Department at “Gobbler’s Rest” in Blacksburg, Virginia.

In this his last ceremony, Obama joked, “It is my great privilege — well, it’s my privilege — actually, let’s just say it’s my job — to grant them clemency this afternoon. As I do, I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom — who met their fate with courage and sacrifice — and proved that they weren’t chicken.”