2 As a result unlike turkeys geese remain one of the few meat birds in the US

2 as a result unlike turkeys geese remain one of the

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number of domestic geese declined over time. 2 As a result, unlike turkeys, geese remain one of the few meat- birds in the U.S. that are not mass-produced on factory farms (except those raised to produce foie gras ) and several wild goose breeds in the U.S. are endangered. Turkeys, by contrast, are produced commercially in prodigious numbers and their wild cousins have recovered from a drastic decline to inhabit all states except Alaska. With reference to the social importance of Thanksgiving, as Siskin (1992:167) observes, through such traditions "nations are imagined." Further, this symboling is entrenched in a nationalist religious ideology: The belief that God has especially favored this land is deeply embedded in Thanksgiving. We act it out within the Thanksgiving meal as we give thanks to the Lord for all his blessings. The blessings are manifested in the food itself: its quantity, its voluminousness. We eat until we can eat no more (Santino 1994). The advertising industry promotes images of turkeys, pumpkins, and cornucopias associated with Thanksgiving by linking them in their sales pitches to emotionally charged notions of bounty, prosperity, and abundance. By the late 19th century, civic, religious, and folk liturgies were intertwined with commercial holiday rituals that centered on social consumption (Pope 1997). The centrality of turkey to the Thanksgiving event is expressed in direct popular reference to the holiday as "turkey day." At a deeper level, beneath the subtle and more overt expressions of reaffirmed cultural and social unity associated with the invented tradition of Thanksgiving, the stuffed turkey might be read as representing "Native Americans, sacrificed and consumed in order to bring civilization to the New World" (Siskin 1992:168). In other words, rooted in American turkey symbolism is a set of ideas about the ethnic Other that provides a cultural context for the unquestioned shipping of fatty and unhealthy turkey tails for consumption by distant Others in developing nations. In 1989, a new cultural wrinkle was added to the tale of the turkey in American society: the formal presentation of a live Thanksgiving bird to the President of the United States, usually by the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board, and the presidential pardoning of the bird to live out its days on display at the Mount Vernon estate of George Washington. 3 Adding to the entwinement of cultural symbols, from 2005 to 2009, before retiring these birds were flown to Disneyworld to serve on a decorative float, along with a waving Mickey Mouse in colonial dress, as the grand marshal of the Disneyworld Thanksgiving Day Parade. Birds that play this nationally televised role are not selected randomly from farm stock; rather they are hand-picked at birth and trained to remain calm in the presence of many people, loud noises, and flash photography. Because focused breeding for desired characteristics and growth hormones have led to a significant physical restructuring of turkeys (e.g., anatomical manipulation has left them unable
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