What have I done to deserve such a fate
I realize I have left it too late
And so it's true, pride comes before a fall
I'm telling you so that you won't lose all.
"As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
--Gordon Jump as Mr. Carlson
on WKRP in Cincinnati
Kids and hungry people weren't the only ones chasing around turkeys in Yellville the other day. Apparently some animal-welfare activists were visiting and grabbed up four of them. They've been sent away to a farm sanctuary. The turkeys, that is, not the activists. And they've named the birds: John, Paul, George and Ringo. Surely Paul was the cute one.
Yet another animal-cruelty complaint has been lodged at the Marion County sheriff's office, this time against a new "Phantom Pilot," now that the previous one is apparently retired. What has not been retired, unfortunately, is the tradition of throwing turkeys out of a plane during the Turkey Trot Festival in Yellville. Or should that be the Turkey Toss Festival?
The complaint charges animal cruelty and abandonment, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. And as the charges add up over the years, after multiple offenses, a person convicted of even this misdemeanor can be ordered into psychiatric evaluations.
That should be plenty of incentive to stop. But here's an even better one: It's just not right.
Oh, the whole thing might have seemed fun in the old days, when the turkeys were dropped off a roof. A turkey might even could fly to the next roof. They do fly. A bit. These aren't the Butterballs you find in stores. They're wild, and wild turkeys do fly.
What they don't do is fly like eagles. And dropping them from a plane, at eagle heights, is cruel and unusual. So cruel that some of the birds bounce on impact. And so unusual that Yellville, Ark., makes national news every year about this time. Is this really how the good people in beautiful Yellville want to make it into the papers around the country?
Let's just listen to our better angels, and leave this tradition in the past and on WKRP reruns.
We can do that without lawsuits and complaints. If we only will.
Editorial on 10/20/2017
Print Headline: The Fab Four