Victory! Yellville Chamber of Commerce, the longtime sponsor of the Northern Arkansas festival that includes dropping LIVE turkeys from an airplane, has rescinded their support. The Yellville Chamber of Commerce says that they will no longer organize or promote the annual festival!
The heartless tradition was called the “Phantom Pilot” and involved dropping turkeys to crowds below where families were allowed the chance to chase, catch, and kill the birds. Heartbreakingly, two turkeys died on impact from the fall from the airplane in 2016. The turkey drop began 50 years ago, but outrage from concerned citizens and animal welfare advocates grew over recent years.
“For many years, we have enjoyed the days of a family-friendly festival that served as a homecoming; an occasion every fall to gather and enjoy a parade, live music, crafts, festival food, and camaraderie. We feel we can no longer deliver the same experience,” the Chamber of Commerce shared on their Facebook page.
Turkeys are living, breathing animals and are NOT objects or toys that exist for our entertainment. The turkey drop is not only cruel for adults to participate in, but it’s also teaching children the exact opposite of what society should be helping them learn. Instead of dropping turkeys from airplanes, we should be teaching children how similar animals are to us and how they deserve our respect.
As Gene Baur, President and Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary accurately summed up, “Dropping birds out of an airplane is unacceptable and outside the norms of society.” Farm Sanctuary has kindly taken in four turkeys who miraculously survived last year’s drop.
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