As is custom in Yellville, Arkansas, live turkeys were dropped from a small plane as part of the town’s infamous Turkey Trot Festival.
Six of the big birds were dropped from about 500 feet Friday as part of the weekend festival, and all but one survived to fall to Earth, according to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The media outlet posted this video of the drop.
— AR Democrat-Gazette (@ArkansasOnline) October 8, 2016
About 400 watched as the turkeys attempted to get glide in for a landing. Turkeys aren’t known for their flight skills but they can at low-levels.
And if they land alive, festival-goers scramble to scoop up the disoriented birds. Here’s another video from the 2016 event posted to YouTube.
Animal lovers have s have condemned the tradition, which is now in its 71st year. But the protests were confined to online this year, including a petition.
Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary posted his opposition on Facebook:
“I’m very sorry to report that despite significant opposition to dropping live turkeys (who have difficulty flying) out of a plane, this egregious act occurred today in Arkansas where six turkeys were suffered this abusive spectacle, and one died. We’re disturbed by such wanton cruelty and will see if cruelty charges can be filed.
And, as usual, most townsfolk retorted with a shrug.
“For those that keep messaging about turkey drop,” wrote the 23-year-old who administers the Yellville Turkey Trot Facebook page. “Please look into the history. There are bigger fish to fry than to waste your time especially if you don’t live here. Thank you!!!”
A local resident scooped up the dead bird and pledged to save it for Thanksgiving dinner.
Of course, it’s Thanksgiving in Canada and in that spirit as they sit down to Sunday dinner, we want to remind everyone of what is quite possibly the finest episode ever to air of WKRP.
One would think the good folks of Yellville would recall it.