The news report tried to suggest that JFK started the turkey pardon. But what struck me was that, of course JFK was assassinated before Thanksgiving.
So I did some search and he did not exactly pardoned it but simply suggested to keep him:
The first president after Truman to spare a turkey was John F. Kennedy. But JFK did not grant a formal “pardon” to the bird presented to him the week before Thanksgiving in 1963. He simply suggested the family “just keep him” and announced he would not eat the bird. (“It’s our Thanksgiving present to him,” Kennedy said.) According to a contemporary New York Times report, the bird was returned to a farm for breeding.