Today's Paper Search Latest Coronavirus Elections Core values App Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive

We've always done it this way.

How many times has that been said? And it's not even a good excuse. It may be the worst of excuses.

Foot binding. We've always done it that way. Bride kidnapping. We've always done it that way. Once upon a time, drawing and quartering. We've always done it that way.

Frat hazing. Drinking games. Bull fighting. Dog fighting. Cock fighting.

Just because it's always been done that way doesn't mean a tradition should continue. For a great example in the Natural State, take the tossing of turkeys from an airplane at the yearly Turkey Trot Festival in Yellville. Better it was named the Turkey Toss Festival.

We know, turkeys can fly. Most turkeys. Wild turkeys. Anybody who's spent any time on rural gravel roads in Arkansas has come across a flock in the middle of the road and watched them fly away from a passing car. But even a wild turkey taken directly from the woods will probably be scared silly were it tossed from a plane several stories up.

But a domestic bird? This is cruel. There is no other word. And every once in a while, these poor animals forget to fly, and bounce. Last year, two of the dozen or so birds died on "impact." That's not a very efficient rate of flyers.

If folks still want to go to a festival and perhaps run around catching birds for Thanksgiving, why not just release the creatures about town? An open cage here and there. That seems more humane, and sporting, than watching one bounce at your feet.

Come on, Yellville. Evolve. It has to happen one day. Enough national bad press, OK?

Editorial on 10/17/2017

Print Headline: Find a better way


Sponsor Content

Archived Comments

  • karen11290852
    October 17, 2017 at 5:07 a.m.

    Thank you for speaking out against dropping turkeys from moving aircraft from a height to which even wild turkeys never ascend. Nor did turkeys evolve in Nature to be dropped from any height but, rather, they evolved to take off from the ground or a branch, which is totally different, biologically, from being dropped, whether from an airplane or the top of a building. In addition to the height from which the turkeys are being forced out of the plane, they experience terrific wind pressure produced by the plane. There is nothing in these birds' natural behavior, genetics, or evolution enabling them to comprehend or cope with this situation. Nor is chasing terrified turkeys around town "humane." Imagine grown-ups teaching their children to enjoy terrorizing, injuring and killing turkeys (or any fellow creature) for the pleasure of making them suffer. Most of the comments posted following your recent article about the "turkey drop" exhibit a very ugly, mean-spirited attitude of ignorance and viciousness toward the birds. The "turkey drop" speaks poorly for Yellville. The very word "Yellville" connotes cruelty and pitiless pathology.
    Thank you for again for taking a stand. Sincerely, Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, author of More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality.

  • 23cal
    October 17, 2017 at 7:14 a.m.

    "Just because it's always been done that way doesn't mean a tradition should continue."
    Where is this sentiment from the editor when it comes to church and state violations such as Nativity scenes on courthouse lawns?

  • rubythecat96gmailcom
    October 17, 2017 at 9:21 p.m.

    thank you well, said... but i have my doubts about the people of Yellville changing... they are pretty backward.. I mean they are throwing animals out of a plane for their entertainment !