My post about the barbaric practice of dropping terrified turkeys from an airplane at 500 feet — apparently the only thing that can get a crowd to visit Yellville, Ark. — has gone as viral as avian flu through the passionate animal protection community.
I’ve handled a number of calls and e-mails this morning from people who saw the Arkansas Times post thanks to recirculation on social media and have called in disbelief. They wonder about courses of action.
Pretty much none, I said. The general portion of the animal abuse statute in Arkansas arguably offers a slim avenue (it is a crime to knowingly carry an animal in a motorized vehicle in a cruel or inhumane manner ), but I doubt the local prosecutor would touch it. Locals yuk it up about the practice. They think dropping domesticated turkeys from an airplane and then having the survivors be chased down and manhandled is high sport. Clearly, shame isn’t a factor in Yellville or Mountain View, home of pharmacist Dana Woods, the proud pilot for the spectacle.
The animal rights people have produced one positive result. They’ve stormed the Internet for an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette online poll on the practice and now the disapproving are in a solid lead at last check. Online polls don’t count for much, but it’s something.
I shudder to think of outcomes of any number of propositions you could put to a public vote on a preference for tradition versus animal or human rights. Not pretty, I’d bet. And if you take a knee to disagree, somebody just might knock the crap out of you, with a football coach cheering your attacker on.
PS: Farm Sanctuary is one of the group’s stirring opposition, with calls to the sheriff, mayor and others.
PPS: Some defenders have tried to claim the turkeys dropped from planes are wild turkeys and better equipped for flying. Not true. Unless the turkey droppers are breaking the law several ways. Wild turkeys may not legally be trapped or captured, they be taken only hunting in season And it is illegal to release turkeys into the wild.