Save the turkeys! Animal lovers fight back | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 7, 2016

Save the turkeys! Animal lovers fight back

Posted By on Fri, Oct 7, 2016 at 7:09 AM

CALL TO ACTION: Screen shot of web page urging letter writing to sponsors of the Yellville Turkey Trot to protest a drop of live turkeys from an airplane.
  • CALL TO ACTION: Screen shot of web page urging letter writing to sponsors of the Yellville Turkey Trot to protest a drop of live turkeys from an airplane.

The chest-thumping boasts that dropping turkeys from an airplane would be a feature of the Yellville Turkey Trot again this year has energized animal lovers worldwide and they continue a campaign to shame an end to it.

I wrote yesterday about the viral campaign to end the barbaric practice, driven in large measure by Mountain View's Dana Woods of Woods Pharmacy. He gloried in being identified as the "Phantom Pilot" who drops domesticated turkeys from 500 feet. Children then scrabble after the survivors. It's great sport to some in Yellville, defended by many as a glorious "tradition."

A variety of animal rights groups have gotten involved and the results are impressive. An Arkansas Democrat-Gazette online poll, which began with locals favoring the "tradition" is now a runaway in the other direction, with thousands voting against the practice — 18,070 to 1,076 last time I looked

More telling is this page, which encourages letters to sponsors of the event. 

Letter writers have targeted major sponsors of the Turkey Trot, an annual tribute built around the poultry industry. Emails have been sent Arvest Bank, Harps Food, AmmoZone, Progressive Waste Solutions, Marion County Paving and Yelcot Communications.

This has resulted: The website promoting the Turkey Trot no longer has a page listing sponsors. It's blank. A button on the home page that once linked to sponsors is now blank as well. Might that signal reach Dana Woods at his pharmacy  in Mountain View and discourage him? Time will tell. He'd suggested turkey drops were possible today and Saturday in an expansive interview he gave the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

I've been around Arkansas long enough to know that disapprobation sometimes serves as encouragement. See: Rebel flags.

PETA, much disdained in such circles, has also gotten in on the act. It's notifying its significant membership of the event:

Yellville, Arkansas, is determined to resume the barbaric "turkey drop" at its annual Turkey Trot festival on October 7 and 8. During this cruel stunt, captive wild [this is an error; these are not wild but domesticated] turkeys—who in nature fly only short distances and never higher than 100 feet—will be hurled from a private plane high above the festivities, careening into the landscape only to be scooped up by festivalgoers frantic for selfies, while city officials stand idly by.

Please immediately let Yellville officials know that you oppose this reprehensible tradition—then share this alert far and wide. 

PETA helpfully provided contact information:

The Honorable Shawn Lane, Mayor of Yellville

Members of the Yellville City Council

The Honorable Kenford O. Carter
Marion County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
105 S. Berry St.
Yellville, AR 72687

The Phantom Pilot's drugstore in Mountain View also has an unofficial Facebook page and it's filling up with comments. Not complimentary.

But the Phantom Pilot Facebook page isn't going quietly into the good night of compassion for animals. Check it out. There's even a tribute posted last night to the Arkansas Blog in some doggerel that seems to vow that the turkey drop will continue. The brave Phantom apparently deletes unfavorable comments and bans critics from posting. He has three or four defenders. His Turkey Invictus:

'Twas the night before The Trot,
and all through the page
the ban-hammer was swinging
squelching ignorant rage.

"That makes twenty-five..."
said the phantom with glee.
"...and each one, rewarding
Even that hack, Max Brantley."

Keyboarding Warriors,
coming out of the walls.
their drivel will shrivel
as the first turkey falls.

Dana Woods if he coulds,
fly the airship this year.
His task shall live on
take up heart, never fear.

The tradition is set.
just wait for the sound,
of the low-flying Cessna
and birds gliding gracefully to ground.

About those gracefully gliding birds: See a French video on the event in a past year. The splat needs no translation. It ought to make you proud to be an Arkie.

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