Huge Successful Protest Against Turkey Olympics

Four Activists Arrested!

"The furor sorrounding the event has grown over the past three years as it has become targeted by national animal rights groups, particularly United Poultry Concerns."
– The Litchfield County Times, November 29, 1996

On Sunday, November 24th, 50 protesters from all over the Northeast, representing all ages and walks of life, converged at the "turkey olympics" at the Inn at Lake Waramaug in New Preston, Connecticut. This sordid show forces turkeys, dressed in costumes based on images of human violence, sex, and disgusting food habits, to perform humiliating antics--"Olympics-style races and jumping contests"--for drunk spectators.

Around 1 p.m., just before the event was to start, Jerry Vlasak and Shawn Kolpak placed a large Buick across the middle of the road and strapped themselves to an iron bar welded underneath. The car's title identified its owner as "Tofu Tom Turkey." The men were pulled out with firemen's tools and arrested for breach of peace for blocking the road and interfering with police activity for having chained themselves to the car. Two more activists, Vernon Flynn and Christine Rogowski, were arrested on charges of breach of peace. (As if the 'turkey olympics' had anything to do with peace!)

Turkey Olympics Protest
Photo by Animal Defense League

The next day, according to the front-page story in the Waterbury Republican-American, "In an unusual courtroom scene, all four, including Waterbury Hospital surgeon Jerry Vlasak, were released from their shackles after promising to return to court Dec. 13. They refused the right to be represented by an attorney and pledged to remain in jail and to go without food as long as they were held on any bond."

"'We are going to ask for a jury trial and plead our innocence,' Mr. Vlasak said following his release on Monday. 'We use trials to make it even a bigger thing than it already is. We want to change things, and a trial can bring attention to what needs to be changed.'"

Pam Ferdin, the trauma nurse who organized the protest, said the four who spent the night in lockup are political prisoners on a mission. "Where there is pain and suffering, we share those feelings," She said. 'We were taken aback by the enjoyment of humiliating these turkeys. The birds are confused and afraid."

A protester told The New Milford Times, "Should the promoters of this inhumane event wish to run it again next year, we protesters will be back tenfold."

"It really was a magic moral moment to see the courage."
--Pam Ferdin, UPC Activist, Protest Coordinator

What Can I Do?

  • Tell the Inn at Lake Waramaug to cancel the "turkey olympics." Their show is stale, cruel, stupid, and dirty. Send your lis stale, cruel, stupid, and dirty. Send your letters--but do not stoop to their low level!--to the Inn at 107 North Shore Road, New Preston, CT 06777 (ph: 203-868-0563). Independent video of the protest and blockade is available. For information, call 1-800-691-9775.