October 17, 2017

Arkansas Online Editorial Opposes Turkey Drop

Arkansas Online / OPINION — Editorial

Find a better way

“We've always done it this way. Just because it's always been done that way doesn't mean a tradition should continue.”
– Arkansas Online

Posted: 10/17/2017 2:30 a.m. Comment 1

Dear Friends of UPC,

Woman throwing a turkey off a stage and into a crowd

Festival officials “release” a wild turkey from the stage Saturday during the annual Turkey Trot in Yellville. Photo by Andy Shupe

Thank you all for writing and phoning Yellville, Arkansas public officials for months in advance this year and in previous years, in response to our Alerts (Tell Yellville to Stop Dropping Turkeys from Airplanes ), urging the town to eliminate the sadistic “turkey drop” from its annual festival, now in its 50th year. Today’s Editorial in Arkansas Online (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette) fortunately opposes what it calls the “turkey toss” as “cruel,” while unfortunately suggesting setting caged turkeys around town and opening the cages for the turkeys to come out and be chased down by townspeople as “more humane, and sporting” before slaughtering them. (The ritual foreplay of throwing turkeys from airplanes, buildings and stages is supposed to culminate in a “wholesome” family slaughtering of the birds who manage to live through these preliminaries. See for example the article linked to in Yellville, Arkansas: A Sad, Bad Place Oct. 16, 2017).

While the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and its online version, Arkansas Online, do not publish Letters to the Editor from out-of-state writers, they do post comments from people outside of Arkansas, so today I posted this comment following the newspaper’s “Editorial: Find a better way”:

Karen Davis says . . .

Thank you for speaking out against dropping turkeys from moving aircraft from a height to which even wild turkeys never ascend. Nor did turkeys evolve in Nature to be dropped from any height but, rather, they evolved to take off from the ground or a branch, which is totally different, biologically, from being dropped, whether from an airplane or the top of a building. In addition to the height from which the turkeys are being forced out of the plane, they experience terrific wind pressure produced by the plane. There is nothing in these birds' natural behavior, genetics, or evolution enabling them to comprehend or cope with this situation. Nor is chasing terrified turkeys around town "humane." Imagine grown-ups teaching their children to enjoy terrorizing, injuring and killing turkeys (or any fellow creature) for the pleasure of making them suffer. Most of the comments posted following your recent article about the "turkey drop" exhibit a very ugly, mean-spirited attitude of ignorance and viciousness toward the birds. The "turkey drop" speaks poorly for Yellville. The very word "Yellville" connotes cruelty and pitiless pathology.

Thank you again for taking a stand.

Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, author of More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality.

More Than a Meal

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