The birds used are production turkeys, predisposed by human genetics to have difficulty standing let alone running. The Fox TV coverage in 1993 showed clearly that the birds were bewildered and scared and the humor (including that of Fox) nasty. On Sunday, November 20, 1994, Berkshire Advocates for Animals protested the event, recorded what they saw, and took pictures. This is their report:
"We saw a pen full of 'supplied' turkeys set up for those who had reserved a bird for the occasion. People went into the pen, picked out an unwilling bird, forced the bird into a costume, and brought the costumed victim out to the cheering crowd. Some turkeys had to be held by several people at once in order to force on the costume. Much alcohol was being consumed. People were in a raucous mood. A few turned away in disgust.What Can I Do?
"The turkeys were knocked about, pushed, and threatened with sticks. They were carried out into the arena with a degrading costume and a 'funny' new name, e.g. 'Mu-Donna,' 'Fred Flinturkey,' 'The Big Kahuna,' and 'Turkey In The Hay.' The MCs mocked them: 'Here comes Turkey Sandwich'; 'On your mark, get set, I'm just waiting for someone to bring out the mayonnaise!' (roars of laughter). 'Turkey Sandwich' was pushed through the 50 yard dash in 13.55 seconds, a 'new record.'
"The ultimate low was a poor bird plucked from the pen and labelled 'The Turk-A-Nator.' Dressed in camouflage and emboldened with Budweiser, the people behind this stunt showed off 'their' big bad bewildered bird riding in his own custom tank wearing a sinister black cape. As this turkey was pushed down and held firmly in his killing machine, a woman marched alongside the 'warrior' with a large placard depicting a killer turkey and reading:
I'll Be Baked
Eat My Stuffing
"Two busloads of mentally and physically challenged people were brought in for the day. Many children were present, learning from the adults that making fun of other creatures and bullying them is delightful. Feathers were strewn about where birds had been forced into costumes, made to run and jump, and had even been ridden. Some distressed birds in the holding pen pecked at each others' neck feathers. Some birds were bleeding. The 'turkey olympics' is an arrogant display of human dominance over other creatures. It should be stopped."
"These turkeys are professional athletes."--Jeff Radocchio
"It's this smirking sarcasm directed against turkeys."--Karen Davis
The Litchfield County Times
Friday, November 18, 1994